Streamline your communications
There’s an alternative to mass emailing your prayer letter
When was the last time you put a stamp on a handwritten letter? It’s probably been a while. Even though the art of letter writing has fallen out of style, our ability and means of being able to communicate with one another in new and faster ways has continually evolved. Communication technology—email, social media, and blogging—can be beneficial tools for assisting you in keeping regular communication with your contributors. One of the most beneficial tools at present is software that can send out emails to many addresses at once. It’s often used by companies for marketing but can just as easily be used by missionaries to send out prayer letters or newsletters.
Gathering a following
Sending email to hundreds or even thousands of contacts can be cumbersome. But there are now tools available that enable you to not just send out bulk email but also allow you to be more hands-off. JEMA, for example, uses MailChimp to send emails out to our large email list. Once the email list has been entered into this web-based tool the recipients of email can subscribe and unsubscribe to the updates easily through a web link, or QR code.
Email recipients also have the ability to update changes, saving you (the sender) from needing to make the changes yourself. This gives the power back to your contacts to decide how much communication they prefer to receive from you. It also helps you focus on the areas of interest your contacts have. After a newsletter is sent out, this software is able to provide immediate feedback on which contacts were responsive to the email, and which emails remain unopened. Building a contact list by being sensitive to what your contacts are focusing in on saves you time in the long run.
Protecting your partners
Another benefit of using software tools like this is improved security for you and your contacts. Here is some tech advice: If you are sending out a newsletter by email, please use Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) for all your contacts. Avoid pasting a massive list of emails into the “To:” box—this is dangerous. In the event your computer or your contact’s computers become compromised by malware, you are giving easy access to a large list of contacts. This is also dangerous because governments and others make connections between individuals within that list. Some people who receive your newsletter may reside in security-conscious regions. By “spamming” your contacts in this manner you draw lines of relationship that could endanger their safety and the safety of those they are working with.
Even better than BCC, bulk emailing software allows you to safely send emails to many people without giving them access to your other contacts. It also provides the ability to easily unsubscribe if security is an issue.
Ease of use, ease of access
Some newsletters include a lot of information—pictures of all the recent events, prayers for every area of life, and requests for support. It’s important, however, to find a balance between how much to report and how much people are able to consume. A bulk emailing tool can help you by giving you templates to use for different scenarios. Because connecting with contacts on multiple platforms is important today, it’s helpful that a bulk emailing tool can automatically publish into social media like Facebook or Twitter. Using this interconnectedness helps you reach more people with up-to-date information in the most concise way. These integrations are great for spreading the information easily and quickly, and if you rely on your contacts’ contributions for your work. These integrations also open more avenues for your contacts to securely contribute to the cause.
There are many web-based and stand-alone software programs that can help you do bulk emailing, but one of the industry leaders is MailChimp. It has a wealth of features and allows you to have up to 2,000 contacts for free. MailChimp provides great feedback from each bulk emailing sent out, integrates well with social media, and has a user interface that is beginner friendly. If you are still writing emails the same way you were in the 90s, it may be time to take a look at a different way of doing it.