We’re currently using Mailman on an Ubuntu server to run our subscription based (Church-wide, “News”) and group oriented (Trustees, Security Desk, Elders, etc) email distributions. Several times recently, Ubuntu updates have broken Mailman, and the guy managing it is tired of fixing it. We are looking for a replacement.
Looking into replacements, we’d like to allow people to opt-in and opt-out of certain lists, for instance, the news or prayer requests lists. We currently facilitate this functionality through opt-out links at the bottom of each email as well as opt-in/out through our website and by directly sending a message to a management address “email@example.com”.
We use Office 365 for general staff mail, and also have Servant Keeper. If there a function any of you have used in any of these platforms that allows for self-management of subscriptions? Is there a better piece of software I could be using? What are you guys using to accomplish both church-wide email announcements and group-based coordination?
I never use it for group based email, just subscription based email, but I’d probably start by looking at Mailchimp and work out from there.
I would think your church management system should include this feature. I know of Servant Keeper but not familiar enough to know if it can do self-managed subscriptions. My suggestion is to ask Servant Keeper if they can do this and how to set it up. If not, and Servant Keeper is meeting your other needs generally well, look into a service that does this (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc. and look for non-profit pricing). It would be ideal to have it integrated with your church management system instead (when someone updates their email address, it should only have to be done in once place), but the process of researching, choosing, testing, training, migrating, and implementing a new one can be quite an extensive process.
What ChMS do you use? It may have that ability.
If you just want a drop-in replacement for Mailman, I believe the bulk of the development is going into phpList, Dada mail and sympa. I would not recommend self-hosting your own MLM software unless it’s integrated into a ChMS / RMS solution. If your ChMS can’t handle it currently, then I’d start by figuring out exactly what you need out of a solution and then make sure a simple mailing list meets those needs. You may find out that your needs to opt-out, etc. are much simpler (not all types of email lists need to offer opt-out, for example).
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I really feel like the functions ought to be rolled in to Servant Keeper, but I’m just so unfamiliar with it. We’re running our SK install locally, as well, so I think that would impact how we can use it. I’ll look into it, but agree that having it integrated into our ChMS is going to make things much easier.
It does look like SK supports integration with MailChimp, which we were already considering. This may be exactly what we were looking for! Thanks again!!
Using a third party bulk email service like Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor will be more reliable and faster. In my previous organisation we hosted our own email service on-premise and it took 2-3 hours to send out our emails and had to monitor public spam lists for our emails which was a hassle. Third party bulk emails services make it alot easier, significantly faster and more reliable.