Nonprofit Digital Communications

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For those doing digital strategy work, including written or multimedia content for nonprofit websites, social media, and e-newsletters. This group is for those digital communications folks who create written or multimedia content for websites, social media, and e-newsletters for nonprofits. Members will discuss topics such as social media trends, digital analytics, developing content, storytelling, planning and resources, content strategy, and more.

Bulk email through Outlook

  • 1.  Bulk email through Outlook

    Posted Feb 06, 2018 13:21
    Hi all,

    I work with several policy advocates who are building/have built their own followings, and they now want to start sending newsletters to these folks. I'm a little wary of importing these people into our email CRM without a comprehensive strategy and the content to back it up, so I am thinking I might recommend that they send their updates to their list through Outlook until they're ready for the next step of some sort of branded newsletter.

    My question is: does anyone have experience with sending blast emails through Outlook? Does Outlook place limitations on how many people you can add to a distro list and mail to at one time? We're looking at a few hundred people per distro list, so not insignificant, but seems like it shouldn't be impossible either.

    Would appreciate any insight you all might have!

    Best,
    Sydney


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    Sydney Moyer
    Digital Strategist
    Conservation Law Foundation
    Boston, MA
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  • 2.  RE: Bulk email through Outlook

    Posted Feb 06, 2018 14:02
    I am almost willing to guarantee you will have delivery problems. If they are sending to any significant number of addresses on yahoo, gmail, icloud, etc many if not all your bulk emails will disappear into nowhere and not get delivered. They aren't in the recipients spam, they are dropped before that and just disappear, never to be seen.

    Others will jump in, but if you are going to do bulk mail, you likely want to think about a service who's primary job (well after trying to get your money) is to ensure the mail sent through their system isn't dumped by the big email providers.





  • 3.  RE: Bulk email through Outlook

    Posted Feb 07, 2018 10:42
    Use a bulk sender. Outlook, and more importantly, your email server, are not the right tools for this job. You will have deliverability issues, your server's reputation will get dinged, and you could even get blacklisted. Mailchimp or the like will give you what you need for now without throwing up big obstacles in case you want to move elsewhere later.

    ------------------------------
    Isaac Shalev
    http://www.sage70.com
    Stamford CT
    @Sage70
    isaac@sage70.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Bulk email through Outlook

    Posted Feb 07, 2018 11:49

    I must agree with the previous comments.

    Do NOT send bulk email through Outlook. There are several potential issues you could face from being marked as SPAM to getting your domain/server blacklisted. Although it may seem convenient to send through Outlook, it isn't worth it.

    Depending on your list size, MailChimp might be a good place to start. They have a free account for up to 2000 contacts.

    It is also advised you do list cleanup before sending to it. Try to ensure all the email addresses are accurate and up to date. You could consider using a service like Email List Verification - Email Deliverability - Check Email Address to clean out any bad addresses.

    Thanks
    ~Matt



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    Matt Koeppel
    Principal
    Ocreative
    Hartland,WI
    www.ocreativemarketing.com
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  • 5.  RE: Bulk email through Outlook

    Posted Feb 07, 2018 12:24
    -- Best practice #1: use an Email Service Provider (ESP). Our internal number is 20 or more people when we send out a bulk email.​
    -- ESPs are relatively inexpensive (MailGun, MailChimp, ConstantContact, Emma) compared to what it will cost you in time and effort to get your email (and the emails of all your company coworkers) de-blacklisted.
    -- ESPs provide unsubscribe options that conform to CAN-SPAM and keep you compliant there.
    -- If you did figure out how to send bulk via Outlook, when a recipient does unsubscribe, who's maintaining that list?
    -- You can help your coworker develop a short email strategy:
    o who's the audience? new attorneys to the partnering circle
    o what's the purpose? educate them on relevant advocacy points
    o When does it go out? monthly eNews deliver last thursday of month
    o What does it contain? three topics on XYZ (last advocacy campaign, social media sharing tool kit, success story)
    o If after three months you see the open rates, click throughs or staff participation nonexistent, you scrap it. But at least you did it with a plan that will allow you to help not hinder... and pull the plug if needed.
    o if the email outreach does really well, then you have set the groundwork for developing a more comprehensive strategy, editorial/content calendar and engagement tracking metrics.
    o Two additional questions I ask: who's doing it? and if applicable, who's paying for it (funding source)? I find these last two questions almost always tamp down a "great idea" when proposers realizes they have to execute. Good luck! T

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    Tara Collins, Director of Communication & Resource Development
    RUPCO, Kingston, NY
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  • 6.  RE: Bulk email through Outlook

    Posted Feb 14, 2018 09:42
    Thanks all, this is really helpful advice – we've decided against using Outlook to keep our email reputation intact.

    My next question, then, would be: do other folks have this issue of having to manage bulk email grassroots-type emails/newsletters outside of their regular ESP? Do you bring these emails into your current ESP, be it Luminate or Engaging Networks or any of those, or do you have separate ESPs?

    Our dilemma is:

    • We don't want to add individual newsletters to our ESP but then have to manually suppress all these groups from all of our other sends  – this opens us up to human error of forgetting to suppress them with each new campaign, and puts us at risk of adding even more suppression groups down the line until it becomes untenable.
    • We also don't necessarily want to manage two separate ESPs and databases of record, i.e. both Luminate/Raiser's Edge and something like Mailchimp, because it feels like we're splitting our resources and contacts in a way that's not strategic.
    Would love any insight into how folks manage this at other organizations!

    Thanks,
    Sydney

    ------------------------------
    Sydney Moyer
    Digital Strategist
    Conservation Law Foundation
    Boston, MA
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  • 7.  RE: Bulk email through Outlook

    Posted Feb 15, 2018 10:05
    Sydney, the short answer is that when you add these emails you're going to add them to your house list, and to their own groups, but not to your general newsletter subscribers group. This way you can mail only them the email you want to send them without affecting your general list at all.

    If you'd like some help thinking this through please contact me directly. We've helped many small organizations organize their email communications along these lines.

    ------------------------------
    Isaac Shalev
    http://www.sage70.com
    Stamford CT
    @Sage70
    isaac@sage70.com
    ------------------------------