Read time: 7 minutes | Learn about consent reasons and privacy statements.

Jonny Richardson avatar
Written by Jonny Richardson
Updated over a week ago

Gecko supports account-wide consent fields, which allow you to collect, track and enforce student consent preferences across the system. Out-of-the-box, Gecko has consent reasons for email, phone calls, and SMS (though you can create as many other consent reasons as you'd like).

Consent fields can be updated via workflows, imports, or manually changed, either individually or en masse.

Creating new consents

New consent reasons can be created/edited/removed anytime by navigating to Settings > Data Security Preferences > Consent Reasons and clicking + New Reason in the top-right corner.

Provide Gecko with the following information:

  • Name - What should your consent reason be called? This will be visible to students.

  • Group - What type of communication will this consent govern? Multiple options can be selected.

  • Description - A description of what the student is opting into or out of. This description is visible to students when displaying your consent reason on a consent field or the contact portal.

  • Export Given Value - When Gecko pushes this consent value to a CRM, this should be the value your CRM expects for "opted-in".

  • Export No Given Value - When Gecko pushes this consent value to a CRM, this should be the value your CRM expects for "opted-out".

Assigning consents

There are many ways that consent records can be updated, be it manually, automatically, individually, or en masse:

  • Manually (1 student at a time) - Navigate to the Contacts page and find the student you'd like to adjust the consent reasons for. Click on their Overview page and scroll down to the Consents section. Adjust the consents as needed and click Update Consents to save.

  • En Masse (unlimited students) - Head to Settings > Data Security Preferences > Consent Reasons. Click Assign Consent in the top-right corner. Tell Gecko whether you'd like to give or withdraw consent from a given value, then specify the value(s) you'd like to change. Lastly, use the Select Contacts section to search for the correct students to update. Click the refresh icon in the bottom-left corner to get a count of the number of students who will be updated, and if you're happy to proceed, click Update contact consents.

In addition to manually changing values, you can read below to learn how consents can be updated programmatically.

Consent field

πŸ’‘ Note: the consent field is only available to clients with Gecko Protect. Interested in learning more? Contact your Sales or Account Manager here.

The consent field is a one-stop solution to quickly share consent options and showcase privacy/data processing policies with students.

To add a consent field, open your form, go to Form Fields, and add the Consent field.

Once added, you'll be able to configure how your field appears from how the privacy policy displays (either as a modal, adjacent to the consent options, or disabled entirely) and, in the Options tab of the consent field, you're able to pick which consent values are shown to users of the form.

If a student opts into a consent value on their form submission, it will update their record with the given consent value. If a student leaves a blank consent value on their form submission, it will do nothing (i.e., it will not "opt-out" of the blank consent value).

Contact portal

πŸ’‘ Note: the contact portal is only available to clients with Gecko Protect. Interested in learning more? Contact your Sales or Account Manager here.

The contact portal acts as a self-service information hub that allows students to see/update/delete information stored against their contact record on Gecko.

To use the Contact portal, include the following template tag in the email/SMS you send from Gecko:


You have control over which contact fields are visible on the contact portal. To show or hide a specific field on the Contact Portal, head to Settings > Contact Fields, click the field you'd like to show/hide and toggle its visibility using the Show on contact portal page option.

The portal allows students to read your privacy policy (set on the Settings > Data Security Options page) and opt-in or out of consent values.

Importing consents

Consent values can be bulk updated via one-off or recurring CSV or CRM integration imports.

By default, the given value for a consent reason is true, and the withdrawn value is false. However, this can be customized for each consent reason on the Settings > Data Security Preferences > Consent Reasons page. In the example below, Gecko would interpret the data as withdrawing the student's consent for receiving emails and granting them the consent to receive SMS messages:

http://An example .CSV file where Receive Email has a value of 'FALSE' and Receive SMS has a value of 'TRUE'

To import your consent data, go to Settings > Import Data and click + New Import in the top-right corner. Choose to run a Contacts import. When mapping your data (learn more about importing here), map your consent values to the Consent > {consent value} field.

Gecko also allows you to import multiple consent values from one cell. This allows you to import a TRUE value (but won't allow you to flip an already TRUE value to FALSE). If importing using comma-separated consents, make sure to use the correct names of your Gecko consents, and ensure that there are no blank spaces before/after the commas:


"Receive SMS,Receive Email,Receive phone call"
"Receive phone call"
"Receive SMS, Receive Email"

Consent workflows

Form workflows can be set up to assign/withdraw consent values based entirely on how a student responds to your form.

Begin by adding a field to your form which captures whether a student will opt-in/out of your consent. We recommend using the Checkbox - Multiple choice field. Once you've added your field to your form, edit it to offer all of the consent options you'd like to offer students.

Let's illustrate this with an example. Imagine we added a checkbox field with a label of I want to opt-in to / out-of which offers Email and SMS consent options:

A screenshot showing a Checkbox - Multiple choice field with two options; Email, and, SMS.

Now go to the Workflows tab. Add a new workflow with the following:

  • Condition

    • Type = field

    • Field = I want to opt-in to / out-of

    • Logical modifier = contains

    • Value = email

  • Action

    • When = immediately

    • Type = Assign consent value(s)

    • Operator = Give consent to

    • Consent Reasons = Receive Email

Now, click Save Action and Save Changes before repeating the above steps for the SMS reason. Cloning workflows (top-right corner of the workflow) can help you whiz through this process!

How Gecko uses consent when messaging

Consent is enforced differently depending on how you want to communicate in Gecko.

When creating any new Email or SMS template, Gecko will ask you to Check the following consent reasons. Unless a user explicitly instructs Gecko to ignore consent reasons, the message will only be sent if the student has opted-in to communications from that consent reason.

A screenshot showing how templates can be configured to ask for consent reasons.

Learn how consent is enforced in key places within Gecko:

  • Broadcasts - When setting up a broadcast, you will be notified of the Consent Reason requirements behind the template. Providing consent preferences are not ignored; contacts who have not opted-in to receive the message can still be added to the broadcast but will not receive the message. Instead, they will be added to the Excluded contacts with the status of No Consent.

  • Workflows - Providing consent preferences are not ignored; Gecko will only send an email or SMS if the student has opted in to receive the consent type of the template you want to send. You'll be able to quickly identify instances where students did not have permission by filtering the Messages page to show any message with the status No Consent.

  • Call campaigns - When setting up a new call campaign, you can pick which consent reasons students must have to be considered eligible for calls. Providing consent preferences are not ignored; contacts who have not opted-in to receive calls can still be added to the campaign but will not appear among available students to be called. Instead, they will be added to the Excluded contacts with the status of No Consent.

Opting out of emails, texts, or calls

This article deep-dives into creating consents, assigning them, and how Gecko uses them. But let's now focus on things from a student perspective. How does Gecko handle it when a student wants to opt out of certain types of communication?

πŸ“§ Email

There are several ways to allow students to opt out of future emails. Gecko Protect users could use the {{contact.unsubscribe}} template tag in any emails they send. If students click the link this tag generates, they'll automatically opt out of any emails sent using this permission.

πŸ’‘ Note: Interested in learning more about Gecko Protect? Contact your Sales or Account Manager here.

For non-Protect users, a quick and easy solution would be to include a link to a consent form from which a student can manage their permissions. Permissions could be managed by using workflows or by telling Gecko to add a particular label to a contact if they opt out of emails.

πŸ“± Texting/SMS

In addition to using a form (as outlined in the email video above), students can respond to any texts you send through Gecko with STOP, STOPALL, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL, END, or QUIT.

A screenshot of a student opting out of text messages.

If a student replies with any of these phrases, it will not be possible to text this student again using the VoIP number you sent your text out of Gecko with.

Students can resume service by replying START. You can view all students who have opted out in this manner by navigating to Settings > Telephone Numbers or by clicking into an individual contact record and clicking Actions > View phone numbers.

Inspecting whether a telephone number is usable in the contact > View numbers table.

πŸ“ž Call

One of the most robust ways to prevent students from receiving future phone calls is to use a call outcome that marks the call as Complete & Remove Consents. Outcomes can be configured in Settings > Outcomes.

Another way to manually manage whether a student can be called is to navigate to Settings > Telephone Numbers and revoke permission for the student to be called/texted.

A screenshot showing the error notification when a call is attempted to a student with no calling permission.

Attempting to call a student whose telephone number has revoked their call permission will cause Gecko to display an error and prevent the call from being attempted.

Any questions? Start a live chat with a support team member, or feel free to explore the rest of our academy. Spotted an error or want to suggest a future article for the academy? Let us know here.


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