Ultimate guide to notifications

In Award Force, notifications are pre-configured emails or SMS messages that are sent by the platform based on a related trigger. For example, users can receive a notification when they submit an entry or when a review stage has been started. While there are default notifications included in your account, these can be customised to fit your needs. In this guide, we'll discuss how to create, edit, and customise a notification as well as reviewing some commonly asked questions. 

Create a notification

To create a new notification for your program, follow the simple steps outlined below.

  1. In the Manage workspace, go to Settings > Communications > Notifications
  2. Click New notification
  3. Select the Trigger for the notification; see the list of available triggers below
    Tip: you may create multiple notifications with the same trigger, so the event sends different notifications to different people. If doing so, it is recommended that you include a quick note in the Description field. This is only visible to managers of the account. 
  4. Depending on the selected trigger, select whether this notification applies to all categories or just some under the Categories heading
  5. Set the Recipient(s) for the notification, from the following options
    • User: the person the event relates to
    • Email addresses and/or phone numbers: one or more specified addresses separated by a comma or semicolon
      Note: mobile notifications are a feature of the Enterprise plan. 
    • Address specified in a field: allows an email or phone number field from the entry process to be selected. This setting allows for someone an entry relates to, to receive a notification
  6. A sender name and reply-to address may optionally be set--we strongly recommend adding a reply-to address so your users may contact you if necessary
    Note: to improve email deliverability, the sending address cannot be updated.
  7. Write an email subject and email body message
    Note: if both an email and SMS are defined, what is sent depends on the recipient. Should the recipient have both an email address and a mobile number defined, only the email is sent.
  8. For accounts with the mobile registration feature enabled, an SMS body is required and should be kept as short as possible
    Important: SMS messages are limited to 160 characters. To learn about regional regulations and limitations association with SMS, check out our dedicated guide: SMS limitations.
  9. Compose the email body using merge fields and markdown formatting as desired; see the Customise a notification section of this guide for more information
  10. Save

Edit an existing notification 

If you would like to edit an existing notification, follow these steps:

  1. In the Manage workspace, navigate to Settings > Communications > Notifications
  2. Click the subject of the notification you need to update
  3. Make your required changes
  4. Save
Tip: you can activate and deactivate your program's notifications to allow or prevent them from sending. This may come in handy if you'd like to submit entries on behalf of users or if you're staging notifications for future use. To do so, simply toggle the Active notification slider when clicking into a notification. 
Active notification toggle.png

Customise a notification

When creating or editing an existing notification, you have the ability to not only customise your message by editing its text, but also through the use of merge fields and markdown formatting. These tools allow you to pull in information from the user's registration, their submission, or even documents from your organisation's website. To learn about the options available to you, check out these guides:

Available triggers

Note: not all triggers listed below are available on all subscription levels. For example, review flow is available to clients on the Pro subscription and above. 
Trigger Action
Entry moderated

Triggered when an entry is moderated (Approved, Rejected or Undecided). For more information, see: Moderation.

Entry submitted Triggered when an entry is successfully submitted, whether by the entrant or a manager.
Entry resubmitted

Trigged when an entry is resubmitted, whether by the entrant or a manager. To learn more, see: Resubmission.

Entry tagged Triggered when an entry is tagged.
User registered Triggered when a user registers successfully.
User invited

Triggered when a user is invited to the platform. 

Note: this notification is required and will be sent to users whether it has been configured for your account or not. 
Payment pending

Triggered on entry submission when the invoice option is selected by the entrant.

Payment success Triggered on entry submission when a payment succeeds via your payment gateway.
Role granted Triggered when role is assigned to a user. To learn more about assigning roles, see our guide: Assign/remove user roles in bulk or individually.
Review stage started Triggered when a review stage is started. The notification needs to be selected on the review stage before being triggered. See Review flow configuration for more information.
Review stage completed

Triggered when a review stage is completed; i.e when a 'Proceed' or 'Stop' decision is made). The notification must be selected on the review stage before being triggered.

Entry eligible Triggered when an entry is found to be eligible when using the eligibility screener feature.
Entry ineligible Triggered when an entry is found to be ineligible when using the eligibility screener feature.
Assignment created

Triggered when pairing judges with entries via the Entries view of the Manage workspace. To learn more, check out this guide: Assign judges from the Entries view.

Assignment judging completed

Triggered when a judging assignment has been completed by a judge. 

Entry invited

Triggered when a user is invited to complete an entry from the Users view of the Manage workspace.



My users aren't receiving notifications--what can I do?

Award Force uses a third party mail provider to send your program's broadcasts and notifications. While the system has been refined to improve the chances of delivery, it's impossible to guarantee that an email will arrive. Individual inboxes may have advanced filters applied that could reject even crucial messages.

If some users have reported not receiving email notifications (or broadcasts), there are a few things you can check:

  • Ask the user to look for the message in their junk or spam folders or any social/promotional tabs that they've configured in their inbox. Broadcasts and notifications from the Award Force platform can occasionally be routed to these areas.
  • Ask your user to mark the addresses from which notifications and broadcasts are sent, no-reply@app.awardforce.com and sender@app.awardforce.com, as allowed or safelisted.
  • Look at the user's profile to see whether they have unsubscribed from broadcasts and notifications. To do so, go to Users and click on the user's name, then open the Preferences tab. Do note that the account confirmation notification is sent regardless of the users's preferences as it is a system requirement. 
    Subscription options for broadcasts and notifications
Can I bypass the notification preferences of a user?
Yes! When composing a notification for your program, you have the ability to set the legal basis for sending the message as either: freely given consent by user, or legitimate interest of the data controller.
You can learn more about those options here: Legal basis for sending emails
Important: it is not recommended that you modify a user's subscription preferences as this may be in violation of their local data laws. Please check with your legal team before making any changes.
Can I link to a document in a notification?
Absolutely! You can link to a publicly hosted document using Markdown formatting. Please note that we strongly recommend the document be accessible to anyone; i.e. not password protected. Should the document need to be password protected, you may need to include the password in your notification. 
Can I personalise the sender or reply-to email address?
You can set a sender name reply-to address for your program's notifications under the 'Sender' heading when configuring your message. 
Sender name and reply-to email fields
In order to improve deliverability, the sender address cannot be updated. 
Can I still use notifications if my program is multi-lingual?
Yes! For programs that support multiple languages, notifications can be configured in each language that you've enabled. 
Multi-lingual notification options
Can I set CC/BCC recipients?
While CC and BCC recipients cannot be added to a notification directly, you do have the ability to duplicate notifications and assign different recipients. One common use case is program managers wishing to be alerted when an entry is submitted. You can find instructions on how to configure this notification in our guide, How can I, as a program manager, get a notification when an entry is submitted?

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