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Workflow trigger: on record create, on record update
Workflow trigger: on record create, on record update

Working with workflows - triggers, filters and actions

Updated over a week ago

Note: Workflows are available as an additional element on the Standard and Premium plans, and can be added in Settings > Billing.

Workflows allow you to automate many of the manual tasks you need to do each day.

The on record create and on record update triggers are very similar, and allow you to run a workflow each time a record of a given type is created or updated.

Note: These triggers also apply when records are created/updated in bulk, from features like bulk update and bulk create related records. CSV imports do not trigger workflows.


You can add filters to ensure that your workflow only runs when the record meets particular criteria.

For example:

You want to automate part of your volunteer onboarding process. Every time a new volunteer is created, create a task for the volunteering coordinator to give them a call and answer any questions they have.

In the above example, we'll want to use the on record create trigger, but also apply a filter ensure that tasks aren't created for donors.


Each time a record is created or updated, what action would you like to take? Currently, the following actions are supported:

Create record

Create a record of any kind in your Beacon database. Often this record will relate to the record that caused the workflow to trigger (although technically it doesn't have to).

Using the task example, above, we would want to create a new task like so:

Update record

Update the record that triggered the workflow (the record that was created or updated).

Continuing with the volunteering example:

When someone is marked as a "Volunteer", you want to automatically add them into an onboarding process. You have a "stage" field on the person record, which should be set as "New" when they become a volunteer.

Export to Mailchimp

If you're have the Mailchimp app installed, you can use a workflow to automatically subscribe people into one of your audiences.

This is particularly useful if you'd like to automate an email drip campaign to your supporters.


While this trigger seems straightforward, there's a lot that it's useful for! Here are a few examples:

Donation acknowledgements

When a new payment is created, create a task for the fundraising coordinator to acknowledge the donation.

Optionally, you could split this by amount - so different members of the team acknowledge different value donations. (e.g. high value donations are acknowledged differently)

Deceased supporters

When a supporter is marked as "Deceased", then create a task for the marketing manager to remove them from all mailing and invite lists.

Volunteer onboarding

When a new volunteer is created, add them to an onboarding pipeline to get them up to speed. This could work through either:

  • Updating a "Volunteer stage" field on the person record

  • Creating a new "Volunteer application" record that relates to the person

Fraud research

If a donor is flagged as a "Person of concern", create a task for a member of the compliance team to investigate them.

Date tracking

Keep track of the exact date when someone became a volunteer.

When they are created or updated and have the "Type" of "Volunteer" and don't have the "Volunteer applied date" set (filters), set the date as today.

Frequently asked questions

We'd like to trigger a workflow when a record is created or updated, do we need two workflows?

Yes. Currently "on record create" and "on record update" are separate triggers - so if you'd like to watch for create and update "events", you'll need to create two workflows.

Are workflows triggered when I import from a .csv (spreadsheet) file, or merge records?

No. Bulk CSV imports and merging records do not trigger workflows.

This is something we're planning for the future, however! Please let us know if this is something you'd be interested in.

Can multiple workflows to run at the same time?

At the account level: yes. Multiple workflows can run at the same time in your Beacon account.

At the record level: no. A record will only ever run in one workflow simultaneously.

โ˜๏ธ this guarantee doesn't apply to form submission workflow triggers.

Do workflows get triggered from other "bulk actions"?

Yes! As mentioned earlier in the article, features like bulk update and bulk create related records will cause workflows with this trigger to run. Records created or updated by apps (e.g. JustGiving, Enthuse, Mailchimp) will also trigger workflows.

Warning: Workflow actions for apps (e.g. export to Mailchimp) will not run from bulk triggers (this is due to API restrictions outside of Beacon's control), but regular actions such as creating or updating records will run. Zapier actions will also run.

Is it possible to use these triggers to auto-create tasks when records "meet particular criteria"?

Yes and no. This trigger is fantastic for creating/updating records when things happen in your database. I.e. real-time events.

This trigger is not built for date filters. For example, if you'd like to auto-create a task when a grant application is due within 14 days, that's not currently possible with this trigger.

We'll be releasing a new trigger specifically for this case soon.

Will my workflows get triggered again if I create or update records as part of the workflow actions?

No. Record create or update actions in workflows do not cause further workflows to be triggered.

Will my workflows get triggered if I create or update records via the API?

Yes, all of the public API endpoints that developers can use will trigger workflows:

  • Create record

  • Update record

  • Upsert record

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