Organizing Tip of the Week: Email Lists

Organizing Tip of the Week: Email Lists

Do you wish there was some way to email everyone in your chapter at once?

Email lists are a fantastic way to keep your members and supporters in the loop about what your chapter is up to and how they can get involved. Having a regularly mantained mailing list also just looks great; it lets people know that you’re serious and busy, and it brings alot of credibility and professionalism to your chapter’s operations.

 

“What would I use a mailing list for?”

Event invitations and reminders

Action alerts

Meeting minutes

Meeting scheduling (http://doodle.com/)

Discussing ideas with chapter members outside of your regular meetings

Coordinating volunteers

 

“You’ve convinced me. Where do I sign up?” Two free but functional options are:

Google Groups: http://groups.google.com/

Mailchimp: http://mailchimp.com/

 

 

One of the advantages of using Google Groups is that email recipients can reply to messages you send out, so you can have an ongoing conversation with your members and supporters. Mailchimp emails can look much more professional, but lack the ability to create a two-way conversation (although a new feature on Mailchimp’s website claims to address this: http://mailchimp.com/features/comments/).

 

Here is a great example of a chapter update from College of Charleston SSDP using Google Groups:

Hey everyone!! So tonight was our last meeting of the semester and I wanted to make sure I

shared information with you all before going away for the holidays

1. SSDP Conference 2012 – scholarship applications are due ASAP (officially, December 31st at 11:59PMEST) but the sooner they’re submitted, the higher priority you’re given.  If given a scholarship, you’ll receive lodging and potentially reimbursement for travel (but assume that only lodging will be covered and fundraising will be the only other option for funding).

– If you have fundraising ideas, please also send those to me ASAP so we can get working on them as soon as we get back.  Our meetings will be WEEKLY beginning SPRING 2012

– Registration for Students is $45 until January 1st, so be SURE to register before then!

– If anyone has any sessions they would love to make happen, be sure to

submit them on the SSDP page

– http://ssdp.org/events/2012-national-ssdp-conference

2. Student for Liberty – the National Students for Liberty Conference will be in February 2012 in DC

– more information, contact me or Joseph Berger (students for liberty

CofC campus coordinator)

– http://www.facebook.com/events/272482039438210/

3. T-shirt  – We will have money in the Spring 2012 to buy shirts for our chapter,

so if anyone creative has any ideas, the sooner the better!

4. Political Events – SSDP is proud to support youth participation in political events and asking politicians questions about the United States’ War on Drugs

– If any of you have the opportunity (and desire) to participate in the

“On The Record” Project, please let me know

-Melissa Colebank, chapter President

 

 

Here is a great example of an action alert from Rowan University SSDP using Mailchimp: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=b93f8a1e16c37cca3809fb517&id=790d107305&e=9f9f99307b

Rowan action alert

 

Google Groups

Pros:

Two-way conversations

Easy, simple, fast set-up

To send messages to the group, you just send an email to the group address

No limits on number of group members

Cons:

Plain formatting

Not as professional-looking

 

 

Mailchimp

Pros:

Professional-looking templates and formatting

Cons:

Conversation is only one way

Set-up and sending messages can be a little more complicated and time-intensive

Free account limits you to 2,000 supporters and 12,000 emails per month (usually more than enough for a chapter)

 

 

You and your chapter should decide on a communications strategy that makes sense for you. Maybe you want to use both systems; Google Groups for inner-chapter communications, while using Mailchimp for exterior communications. Only you can decide what is best for your chapter, but keeping it simple is always a good idea, so I would recommend picking one solution for your mailing list needs.

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