As more and more of our missionary newsletters are being sent out by email rather than by snail mail, I have been looking at better ways of managing our email list, designing attractive email newsletters, and even tracking who actually reads our newsletters. Recently I have started using Mail Chimp, and see that quite a few other missionaries are doing the same. Mail Chimp is free if you have less than 2000 addresses in your list, and you send less than 12,000 emails a month to your mailing list, which fits both the budget and needs of most missionaries. Mail Chimp helps me design an attractive newsletter with pictures and columns (not just as an attachment). It will send out all of my newsletter in a couple of minutes, without forcing me to break it into batches so that Gmail will accept it. Best of all, it tells me how many people and which people have actually opened our newsletter (this is a little humbling, I am afraid). It offers training and a step-by-step process in writing an email newsletter “campaign,” I encourage you to try it out. Did I mention that it was free and that a chimp sits at the top of every screen providing comic relief when you don’t feel like writing your newsletter? Maybe I should be using Mail Chimp to send out my Training Tracks newsletter?Of course, writing good newsletters is not just or even primarily about using technology effectively.
Our SEND U wiki also has recently added some articles on “supporter communication” that I would encourage you to review as you think about your own communication with your donors.If you want to see some of our recent newsletters created with Mail Chimp, you can find them on our SEND U wiki here. The last two were created with the chimp’s help. You can even subscribe with no cost or obligation!