>OK, so enough people have asked me about church emails they have received from RUMC or Monday Meditations that I have decided to tell you about the service we use and why. Is this a shameless advertisement? No, but if anyone wants to try using this email service, I would ask you to use the referral link below so that both you and our congregation can receive a credit to our accounts.
For years, we did all our church emails in house and that worked fairly well. Individuals in our congregation had their own lists and groups, and shared them with others so that we had one for building team, one for finance, one for the church council, choir and music ministry – you get the picture. We still use these to some degree for small groups and there is usually a team leader that controls each list and keeps it updated.
Getting information to our members also began to change over the past years. It became harder and harder to maintain a regular, mailed newsletter so we began to move towards email newsletters done in-house. For several years, we experimented with various in-house templates that allowed for pictures, graphics, links, and good content presented in a clean, professional way.
Our main problem was that our members used many different email accounts, and the layout and appearance of our emails could be drastically different; a person with Gmail might see it correctly, where a different email server might have everything out of alignment and impossible to read. We also discovered that composing them became increasingly difficult and complicated.
We needed a cost efficient, user-friendly way to centralize and update our lists, format our emails for maximum readability, improve the look and scope of the information we send, and also allow our members to share email news with friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors.
Constant Contact does all of the above and more – and they are not paying me to say that. For $25 dollars a month (they have cheaper plans, I think), we set up multiple lists (Monday Meditations, RUMC Enews, and RUMC Prayer and Praises are our main three), and have the ability to upload hundreds of pictures in addition to the thousands CC already provide online.
We can also now customize any one of the hundreds of templates they offer – with a whole section devoted to religiously themed templates. As you can see from the above links, there is also a nice email archive feature that allows you to turn previous emails into archived web-pages that can be linked to a blog post 🙂 or added to a membership area of a church web-site.
Easy, efficient, and inexpensive – I recommend giving Constant Contact a try. You will also have access to how many people on your lists open your emails; what links they use (or fail to use), and you will receive tips and hints from CC about how to improve all of the above.