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The directors in my organization take attendance at the beginning of each class. They do this by creating records through a custom object called 'Absences'. It is imperative that the parents know ASAP when the student has been marked absent. The absence object has a master-detail relationship to Contact.

My question is: How to create a workflow rule that automatically email alert's the contacts household email address when an absence has been created for that contact?

What I've done so far: Created a workflow rule that triggers whenever a new absence is created. When I go to create the email alert, there aren't any recipients for Contacts.

Thanks in advance!

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you should be able to do it through Email Template feature! https://help.salesforce.com/apex/HTViewHelpDoc?id=admin_emailtemplates.htm&language=en

If not than the other way around is writing a Apex trigger which when fired will get all user data and using Apex Email services forward the email to a group of user. https://developer.salesforce.com/page/An_Introduction_To_Email_Services_on_Force.com

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You can either get the email of a related contact or an email field on the object you trigger the workflow from. What I would suggest is creating a workflow that copies the household address to an email alert field when the absence is created (make sure to re-evaluate workflow rules in the field update), the create a workflow run that runs when that field is filled in to send the email using your email field.

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