Email: Overview and Tips
Email should not replace paper communication, but it makes an excellent supplement to the four paper newsletters you mail to ministry partners each year.
What is good about email communication?
• Easy to prepare (versus printing, signing, folding, etc.)
• Affords frequent communication
Why you shouldn’t rely on email as your primary method of communication:
• Not everyone has email
• Spam filters intercept some messages
• People change email addresses without telling you
• People often delete messages before reading them
• Spouses don’t always share newsletters with their family
By all means use technology (email, Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc.) to communicate with your ministry partners. But when it comes to paper versus bytes, use both.
If you plan to use email to update your ministry team or invite prayer, keep these important tips in mind.
• Email should be used as one method among many to communicate with your ministry partners. It should not replace paper newsletters, rather it should supplement communication in between paper newsletters.
• The frequency of sending ministry emails varies. Every day is too often. But once a week? Once a month? That could work. Experiment with what works in your context. Many email services offer reports on how many people opened your message. If you mail frequently and your readership is low, send fewer messages and see if your readership increases.
• The content of you message needs to appear in the message, not as an attachment. If your readers have to click and wait to download your message, you’ll loose many.
• If you do attach a document, convert the file to a PDF—something most people can open.
• Email must be short. Again, scrolling using means loosing readers. Keep the length to 1-2 short paragraphs or 1-2 sentences plus a few prayer requests.
• “Urgent” prayer requests require a timely response. If you send out an email requesting prayer for something happening today (e.g., you’re meeting with a student to share the Gospel today at 3:00, so you e-blast your whole team asking them to pray), then be sure to send out an email as soon as you can updating people on how their prayers were answered.
• Attachments and pictures must be reduced to manageable size. If your messages jam up people’s mailboxes because they’re so large, people will delete them without reading them.
• Grammar and punctuation matter—even in email. Yes, email is an informal method of communication, but even in email, represent yourself and The Navigators well by using correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.
• Email should not be used for funding appeals. It’s not that this will never work, it just won’t work most of the time.