I'm trying to build a CiviRule to chase a volunteer for an application form, two weeks after the application form has been emailed to them, by sending them a second email reminding them of the outstanding application form. (In the version of the rule shown in the screenshot, I've turned off the 2-week delay for testing purposes.)

The application form is (manually) emailed to the volunteer, creating the Activity of type "Email" with subject "Volunteer Application Form". So I search for volunteers with incomplete application forms (via a smart group, which I've tested) after a new activity of type 'Email' and subject 'Volunteer Application Form' is added. That's the theory at least but the rule never triggers. I've tried lots of different attempts, including not using a smart group, but to no avail. The closest I've gotten to success is I remove the need to be a volunteer then the rule triggers for me, the person carrying out the activity of sending the application form to the volunteer, but this isn't what I want--and in that case also, the volunteer himself/herself never gets the chaser.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions, or different ways of approaching the same problem. Thanks!

Screenshot of CiviRule

Per a helpful suggestion from Lars below, and after further experimentation, I'm now fairly sure there is a bug in CiviRules.

Test Trigger Linked Condition Linked Action Action Outcome As Expected
1 Activity is added: Trigger for all contacts Null Add Tag to Contact Phone Call or Meeting Only Target is tagged No
2 Activity is added: Trigger for all contacts Null Add Tag to Contact Email Only Source is tagged No
3 Activity is added: Trigger for Activity Target Null Add Tag to Contact Email Neither Target nor Source is tagged No
4 Activity is added: Trigger for Activity Source Null Add Tag to Contact Email Only Source is tagged Yes
  • Have you tried removing one of the conditions at a time and seeing when it will or won't trigger? That should help narrow it down and is the approach I use when CiviRules isn't working as expected.
    – Lars SG
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 22:40
  • Thanks! This is (always) a helpful suggestion when diagnosing a problem. I've done some more experimentation and summarised my observations in the table added above.
    – gillenpj
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 11:12
  • That's interesting. I just tried the first row of your table on the Drupal 7 demo site and it worked as expected (all three contacts tagged). So you might want to try these on the demo site for D7 or Wordpress or whatever you are using to help narrow down where the issue is. It might be something specific to your site.
    – Lars SG
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 16:11
  • I hadn't been filling in Assignee but if I do then for the first row only the Target and the Assignee are tagged, not the Source, on my site (CiviCRM running on WordPress running on CiviHosting). Am I correct in understanding that Target means the contact to whom the action is being done, e.g., the person who is being phoned; Source means the contact who has raised the action, e.g., me a logged on user; and Assignee means whomever the Source has assigned the task to? Where can I find the Drupal 7 demo site? Thanks again.
    – gillenpj
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 18:16
  • At the bottom of the page here, you can find the testing sandboxes: civicrm.org/demo
    – Lars SG
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


Your rule is set for All Contacts. Have you tried setting it for Activity Target - it doesn't explain why it isn't working for 'All Contacts' but worth confirming I think

enter image description here

If that makes no difference then there is also the option to add a Condition to specify the Target

enter image description here

  • Thanks for these suggestions. Unfortunately the results are the same: the rules aren't triggered for the targets. Analysing the issue a little further, I think my conclusion is that this kind of rule doesn't work for targets; it only works for sources. For example, if I do set trigger for all contacts, and relax the linked conditions, I can get the rule to trigger for the sender of the email, but again not for the receiver of the (volunteer application form email). Thanks again for your interest.
    – gillenpj
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 20:55
  • and no random glitch like the target in question is On Hold or Do Not Email?
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 22:36
  • No, I double checked this just case. And anyhow I get the same results if I swap out the Email action for a Tagging action (see row 2 in table above). For some reason the trigger doesn't appear to get activated for the Target.
    – gillenpj
    Commented Dec 18, 2022 at 8:40
  • does this shed any light, or is it just covering same ground you have? civicrm.stackexchange.com/questions/34887/…
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 5:30
  • Hi Petednz. Thanks for this reference. If I understand its gist correctly it seems to confirm that it should be possible to do what I'm trying to do, i.e., CiviRules should be able to accomplish this. However, there appears to be something not quite working right on CiviCRM (at least on WordPress), based on my observations summarized in the table above.
    – gillenpj
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 12:16

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