October 4, 2006-Mass E-mail for Nonprofits

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The topic that everyone wanted to talk about was nonprofits sending out mass e-mails to their clients, constituents or donors.

John Kenyon[1] a technology consultant participated in the discussion and provided some helpful examples of affordable mass e-mail providers for nonprofits:

   * Email Now [2]
   * Constant Contact [3]
   * Democracy in Action [4]
   * Yahoo Groups [5]
   * Google Groups [6]
   * Vertical Response [7]
   * Topica.com [8]
   * CiviCRM/CivicSpace [9]
   * NPO Groups [10]

We also discussed how sending out mass e-mails by your regular e-mail provider is not recommended. The general progression that nonprofits seem to follow is, first they use a free e-mail service first like Google groups, then progress to something that costs $15-$20 a month, like Email now or NPO Groups, and then if the nonprofit wants additional features like a database then they choose something like CiviCRM or Democracy in Action.

The discussion also turned out to be a little bit about websites and Content Management Systems (CMS) which are databases used to manage and store web content. We discussed some examples of open source tools like Drupal[11], Plone[12], Joomla[13], and Mambo[14] that allows nonprofits to easily manage and update their content online. Granted, nonprofits would need a web savvy person to set up their site, but once the site is set up, anyone (the organization designates) can update the content on the site.