eNewsletters offer nonprofits a relatively inexpensive way to communicate with and engage constituents. The following tools help organizations design templates that match the branding of the organization; provide statistics to track which constituents are opening eNewsletters, which links they are clicking on, and which email addresses are no longer active; and ensure the eNewsletters get through Spam filters.
The following are a handful of the more popular eNewsletter tools available today.
Please note: The pricing in this article is old - contact vendors directly for updated pricing information.
Disclaimer: JCamp 180 uses Constant Contact to distribute its eNewsletters.
Constant Contact is the leading provider of eNewsletter services. Constant Contact is an online provider that offers both eNewsletter and online survey tools. Constant Contact uses a simple drag-and-drop templating system to easily design a template with an organization's branding. Constant Contact offers very strong statistics tracking, spam management, and email tracking functionality.
Easy to create templates and emails. Statistics tracking is simple and robust. Constant Contact works hard to ensure your emails are not caught by spam filters. Very competitive pricing for nonprofits who opt for annual prepayment plan. Constant Contact offers simple "widgets" to easily collect new eNewsletter subscribers on websites and blogs.
Nonprofits must prepay at least 6 months in advance to get nonprofit discount (20% for 6 months prepaid; 30% for 12 months prepaid). Email archiving and expanded image hosting require an additional fee.
$52.50/month (if prepay annually) for 5,000-10,000 emails
Emma also offers online eNewsletter services. Emma requires a setup fee, but includes the design of a custom template as part of that initial fee. Emma also includes some additional free statistics and proofing options, including:
- Reviews your campaign for words, phrases or formatting likely to increase your spam or junk score
- Analyzes if a campaign size might pose problems for some recipients
- Checks a campaign to make sure every link works
Emma will develop a custom template for you to use upon signing up. Emma offers multiple proofing options which should ensure safe delivery of eNewsletters, including link checking. Easy to understand statistics. Once templates are set up, it is easy to use.
Emma is more expensive compared to other services. Creating templates may not be as user-friendly as in Constant Contact or Mail Chimp.
Pricing starts at $30 a month for 1,000 e-mails. There is also a $99 setup fee that includes a customized template. For non-profits you will receive 20% off if you sign up for a year.
Unlike the other tools reviewed here, GroupMail is an application that is installed on your computer (NOT a web service). It allows users to send messages directly to their recipients from their desktop, or through a dedicated e-mail server using multiple connections. Works with MSN and practically all corporate email systems. Features include preparing and scheduling messages for delivery any time in the future; running and maintaining CAN-SPAM compliant eNewsletters with powerful automated subscription, removal and filtering support; and maintaining your own constituent contact information, rather than storing it with a 3rd party eNewsletter web vendor.
There is no limit on the size of the contact list (except with the free edition). There are a range of add-ons to expand the functionality of GroupMail. The organization controls all constituent data internally (not on a 3rd party vendor's servers). For organizations with large alumni lists, GroupMail can be a cheaper alternative to services such as Constant Contact and MailChimp.
Installed software must be maintained by the organization. This includes ensuring updates are purchased and installed correctly and backing up all data. The included statistics are generic, unless you purchase the most expensive Marketing Pack; this edition tracks who opened the emails and what they clicked on. For organizations with smaller numbers of alumni, GroupMail can be more expensive for similar functionality.
There is a free edition that supports email lists up to 100 recipients. Otherwise, prices start at $139.95 for GroupMail Personal Edition, plus 25% of the software fee for annual maintenance (i.e., ~$35/year for the Personal Edition). However, for advanced statistical data (tracking who opened emails and what they clicked on) as well as an easy way to offer eNewsletter sign-ups on an organization's website, the GroupMail Marketing Pack is required. The Marketing Pack costs $699.95, plus 25% for annual maintenance ($175/year). In addition, there are additional fees to keep the software up to date.
MailChimp is an online eNewsletter provider that offers users the ability to create and maintain a professional eNewsletter campaign for their clients and customers. MailChimp offers a simple user interface and helpful functionality to manage constituent lists and eNewsletter planning.
MailChimp's statistics can be viewed as an overlay of an image of the actual eNewsletter. MailChimp offers more advanced functionality as well, such as Wufoo integration. You can link a Wufoo form so that email addresses get passed over to a MailChimp list. Paid customers can remove the MailChimp logo for no additional charge. MailChimp offers both a monthly subscription option (for unlimited eNewsletters) and a pay-as-you go plan (pay per eNewsletter sent). Nonprofits receive the 15% discount on a monthly basis (no long-term contract required).
MailChimp's template editor does not offer a drag and drop interface; some users may find it more difficult to create an email template.
MailChimp's free plan allows organizations to have up to 100 emails in their lists. Beyond 100 emails, prices start at $0.03 per e-mail or $8.50 (for non-profits) for an unlimited plan. For a nonprofit organization with 5,000-10,000 emails, MailChimp will cost $63.75/month.
VerticalResponse is another online eNewsletter provider that offers an array of constituent communication tools: eNewsletters, surveys, even postcards*! Nonprofits can send up to 10,000 eNewsletters/month for free with VerticalResponse; image hosting is also offered free of charge.
*Note: Online surveys and postcard services require additional fees.
VerticalResponse offers a robust free plan for nonprofits, including image hosting and strong statistical tracking functionality. VerticalResponse can even be integrated with Google Analytics for additional analysis.
The user interface isn't as easy to use as Constant Contact or MailChimp, so designing the eNewsletter template could take more time than with the other services. VerticalResponse's spam tool mixes recipients who have unsubscribed and those who have flagged the sender as Spam, so it is difficult to analyze this information. VerticalResponse does not offer any option to remove its branding from eNewsletters.
VerticalResponse offers nonprofits 10,000 FREE emails per month. They count each email sent to each email address as one email. So, as long as a camp has less than 10,000 email addresses, it can send out one free eNewsletter or email each month with VerticalResponse.
Otherwise, prices start at $0.015 cents per e-mail for pay as you go or $10 a month for up to 500 users.