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Email (along with text messaging) is still the #1 way to directly reach members of your group, especially a small one. Even with smartphone apps and social networking as popular as they are, most people still use their phones for checking email (and texting) more than any of these other forms of communication.
But we hear many group and ministry leaders often say, “I just use my personal email address to communicate with my group, so why do I need Flocknote to help me send email?”
Great question. Just to clarify, Flocknote is not supposed to replace your personal email account. But when it comes to sending email to groups of any size, simply trying to use your personal email account (via Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) tends to be very limiting and can even get you into some trouble in certain situations.
Here are 10 key reasons why using Flocknote is a better idea for communicating with your group than your personal email:
1. Keeping contacts efficiently up to date
What happens when a member changes their email address or cell phone number? With Flocknote, members can adjust their own contact info anytime online or an admin can do it for them. This updated contact is then used for all groups within your church automatically.
2. Leader Turnover
If there’s a sudden change in group leadership, what happens to the distribution list that the out-going person built? It’s very common that the list and the tool they used to communicate leaves with them, causing the new person to have to start all over again. With Flocknote, the new leader can step in without missing a beat.
3. Getting your group members involved elsewhere
Many church members who are minimally active in their church will “should” themselves – “I really should connect with this or that ministry” – but rarely take the step to get more elsewhere. Having your group on Flocknote, where your church’s other ministries are also active, will allow your members to easily engage in other groups as well.
4. Managing your list (bad emails, unsubscribes, legal, etc.)
Even when you do have a list of your group’s contact information, you may not have a way to easily and effectively manage that list. If emails go invalid or “bounce,” a personal email won’t be tracking those properly. Further, personal emails don’t give members a way to easily opt-in and out of those lists either – which is (among other things) a legal requirement for a group that’s sending out a lot of emails.
5. Bulk email on your email server?
Particularly in a large group, if you haven’t run into this challenge yet, most eventually do…they get their web server blacklisted. If you are regularly sending out bulk emails to 20, 50, 100 or more people at a time (and many are sending out much more than that) then you really should be using a proper bulk emailing service when sending such messages. If you don’t, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) may start to view you as a spammer and will downgrade or blacklist your server. That means that all of a sudden a lot of the email you send out is much more likely to go straight into recipients’ spam folders or not even reach them at all. It can cause a lot of other problems for your web presence, too. Most church or personal email servers were simply not set up to send out that much email.
6. Team use
Groups seldom have a communication tool that can be easily used by multiple group leaders at a time; there’s usually a bottleneck of only one person who has access or knows how to send out information. Instead, you should have a system that gives each group leader appropriate access to the distribution lists they need to help you run the ministry – whether it’s for long formal newsletters or just quick reminders/announcements. Having a plan for communication to your group will also help.
7. Accessing them when you need them
Can you only send out information from your own computer at the office? What about when you are on a trip? Or traveling? Or at home? And from any device? Flocknote works in a snap on any device.
8. Sending professional-looking email
Group emails can often look very unprofessional and not reflect their vibrant, important, joyful mission.
9. Tracking success and results
Once a group sends an email out, that’s usually it. Especially with a personal email provider, you have no way to practically check how many people it reached, who read it, whose email bounced, etc. You have no way to track the results of their email communication, and that’s a problem.
10. Oversight and documentation
Finally, most groups have no way for administrators or pastors to oversee the information being emailed out. There is no formal archive of it all if it ever needs to be referenced. And as much as some of us might like to be lone rangers, it’s not safe for your members, or even in your best interest as the leader. Having something that’s Safe Environment compliant is always a good idea.