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Sue from Doncaster West Development Trust loves MailChimp

Sue Oxley is the Community Hub Project Officer for The Terrace, Doncaster West Development Trust. Her background is as a training manager for large corporate business prior to moving into the voluntary and not for profit sector.

Why did you look for this tool in the first place? What did you need help with?
Quick distribution of newsletters with a need to reduce the time required to maintain a full email contact list that is permanently up to date

How did you find out about the tool?
Google search when looking for auto responder tools to maintain and update email lists

What is this tool mainly used for?
To create newsletters via email using pre–designed as well as specifically created templates where preferred.

The auto responder maintains imported email addresses and allows subscribers to unsubscribe without spending valuable time maintaining these through excel spreadsheets.

The reports that are available behind the scenes are a great indication to how popular the newsletter is as it quickly displays the open rate of the document, new subscribers, those who have unsubscribed since the previous newsletter distribution, offers monitoring information to use for current funders of future funding bids to evaluate current processes.

Extract from Mailchimp site

  • Track your results - MailChimp’s free reports tell you who’s opening, clicking, and coming back for more. They’re available for iPhone and Android too. Tweet Trends gives you insight into your sub-scribers’ activity on Twitter, and our Google Analytics integration gives you advanced stats on how your campaigns affect traffic to your website.

What do you use it for?

  • To quickly inform service users of news, training opportunities as well as keeping informed of and distributing funding news to partner organisations.
  • To gather monitoring reports to support evaluation reports.
  • To generate an up to date and well maintained email address database

Why has this tool been useful to you?
Hardcopy newsletters are often out of date from the initial moment of preparation to obtaining a hardcopy for distribution. Once a hard copy is printed the information is static and if incorrect a separate addendum has to be produced which can be costly and hold up the distribution of the paper document.

Mailchimp has saved us time and money, once up and running with the template chosen it is simple to drop in logo’s and pictures and quickly edit content prior to sending a test e-newsletter to your own email address to check the visual aspect of the newsletter.

After setting up Mailchimp the software ensures that you operate under the correct laws of data protection and allows those receiving the newsletter to unsubscribe at any time, this feature is automatically included as part of the template chosen.

Email addresses can be imported from several routes such as google, yahoo and outlook.
Distribution lists can be created in relation to the type of newsletter, for example a service user will not require information about funding opportunities where as a partner will need to know about the same information as the service user, ie: training opportunities or job vacancies. Mailchimp allows you to create sub lists of subscribers

Is there any cost attached to using this tool?
Extract from Mailchimp site
MailChimp is completely free for lists with up to 2,000 subscribers. As long as you've got fewer than 2,000 subscribers across all lists in your account, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month without paying us a dime. We won't even ask for a credit card.
No expiring trials. No contracts. No credit card required.

• Free forever
• Monthly & pay as you go plans
• Possibility to join the affiliation programme

Are there any online tutorials available?
Full selection of resources with instructions and tips of how to get the most out of the software in relation to the type of organisation using the tool:

Did this tool need much of your time to set it up at the beginning?
Approx 30-40 mins from signing up to Mailchimp, preloading logo and choosing our preferred template to sending a test newsletter to an internal email address.
I did then want to know more about integration and plug-ins of Mailchimp with social media sites so it took longer to watch the pre-recorded webinairs to develop additional knowledge
Now that our template is set up I can prepare and send out our newsletter very quickly depending on the amount of content and pictures or I can prepare it one day and just press a button to distribute at a later date.

Are there any limitations to using this tool?
Always free within the criteria listed above

Do you have any top tips for using this tool?
Play with it and send it to your own email address as tests while you get familiar with the layout and fonts, don’t use large fonts, 10 or 11 is a good size to use for the recipient.

Part of the stipulations of Mailchimp is that they ask you to offer a short statement t the top of your newsletters offering the recipient a reason why they are receiving the newsletters. Choose your words carefully and use clarity. For example we use. You are receiving this newsletter as part of your request to stay informed.........................etc

Do you have any other recommendations of tools that could help you do something similar? is similar but encourages you to buy their advanced version.

Are there any other online tools that you have used that you would recommend and why?
Wordpress and Mailchimp work well together. Mailchimp if fully integrated with Hootsuite.