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Top email service providers for churches

By Darby Jones

Are you looking for a new or improved way to spread the word about announcements or to organize events for your church? Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your community.

Sending a professional looking e-newsletter can be easy with the help of a good email service. Many of these services are inexpensive or free for non-profits.

If a plain-text service is all you need, Google for Nonprofits can do that as well as give you access to a whole suite of premium apps to help your teams work virtually.

Email service providers that give non-profits a deal

If you want to design HTML-based emails and measure the opens, clicks and unsubscribes, consider using an email service provider with a more robust set of features. Here are some affordable options:

VerticalResponse – It’s free for up to 10,000 emails per month. If you do a weekly newsletter, your contact list should not exceed 2,500. This option provides free templates, social media integration, subscription services and more to nonprofits! Going beyond this limit involves a large price tag. If you need that kind of volume or more features, compare prices with other services. View Vertical Response features.

MailChimp - This is also free for your church up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month. Above this limit., the cost is $25 a month for nonprofits for 2,500 subscribers and unlimited emails per month. The maximum upgrade is $200 a month for 50,000 subscribers, so this option offers room for growth. View MailChimp features.

Some other affordable email service providers that have offerred nonprofit discounts in the past include iContact and Constant Contact.

With a small investment, your newsletter can go far. If your church has a strategy that involves extensive or more elaborate email communications, it’s worth looking into a paid service.

All these services offer an email setup wizard and walk you through the steps of getting emails out the door. Many of these services provide templates to get you started. Contact-management features allow list imports, custom fields and automatic detection of duplicate emails. Reporting features will show opened emails, forwarded emails, unsubscribed contacts, click-through tracking and undeliverable emails. These are just some of the features offered.

Evaluate your church needs and strategy

What is the purpose of your email marketing campaign? Does your audience consist of church members only? Knowing what you want to do with email will help guide your selection process.