Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to send email to several people

How to send email to several people

A friend of mine asked for tips on sending emails to groups of people.

I have mixed feelings about group emails, mostly because of what I feel is the overuse of the “reply all” option. I generally include everyone in the “to” line if I’m emailing a committee or small group. This way everyone can see who else was included. Once I get past about 12 people, I tend to use “bcc” and then list in the body of the email itself who is receiving the email. This way recipients know who else is receiving the info, and I can easily find the list of who received it in case I want to double-check. Here’s an article about bcc etiquette. I found it helpful to think about personal vs business email address norms.

Another way to handle group emails is… use the group email function on your email program. You likely have this option, even if you don’t realize it. An advantage to using the group email function is that once you’ve added the names to the group, you don’t have to worry that you’ve forgotten someone – you just add the group of names as a whole.
Here’s a discussion from the folks at googlemail regarding how to set up an email group on their system. You’ll find similar instructions for your own email program. You’ll notice they reference the “bcc” technique as a way to be “discreet.” I think you substitute the words “not annoying” and the sentence would still work.

A related question is how to set up an enewsletter. I’m most familiar with and  Both of these are cheap or free to use if you have a small database. Their websites have information about cost. An email tool like this is handy for many reasons, including: 1) you can import and existing database into the tool so you don’t have to retype email addresses, 2) spam filters realize they are enewsletters and not spam, 3) they come with templates so if you aren’t good at layout you can use one of theirs, 4) they come with an analytics tool so you can find out what percent of your newsletters were opened, forwarded, and stuff like that, 5) they are easy to forward and you can include information about how to sign up so people populate your database themselves.

If you are trying to decide which enewsletter tool is best for you, you might check and see what other churches your size are using and ask what they like best about their enewsletter, and if they feel strongly enough to make a recommendation. 

Frisco with Praying Hands
 Here's a photo of my Lincoln neighbor cat, Frisco. He's almost two years old, which I feel is too young to be a curmudgeon, but he's one of the crankiest cats I have ever met. In this photo he has just hissed at me from near my Praying Hands yard art. The hands appeared one weekend while I was in Omaha. I arrived late Saturday night, went to remove what I thought was a plastic bag... and instead found these. One of my friends says I should not worry unless I return home and discover "praying feet." The donor has not yet come forward...

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