October 4, 2006-Mass E-mail for Nonprofits
The topic that everyone wanted to talk about was nonprofits sending out mass e-mails to their clients, constituents or donors.
John Kenyon a technology consultant participated in the discussion and provided some helpful examples of affordable mass e-mail providers for nonprofits:
* Email Now  * Constant Contact  * Democracy in Action  * Yahoo Groups  * Google Groups  * Vertical Response  * Topica.com  * CiviCRM/CivicSpace  * NPO Groups 
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, Plone, Joomla, and Mambo 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.