In part 3, you created a mailing list at MailChimp to track the email addresses of your supporters. But we left it empty. Now, you need to add your supporters.
MailChimp offers several different ways to add people, and we’ll cover a few of them in the next few articles. Eventually, you’ll want to pull in a big, long list of supporters all at once from your contact list, or a spreadsheet, or from somewhere else. But before we go jumping off the deep end, it’s important to understand where all of the different information about your supporters lands when you add them in.
To help make that clear, this article will focus on adding individual supporters manually. Besides, as you meet people throughout the course of your ministry, you’ll often have some of them ask you to add them to your prayer letter list, and you’ll need to know how to add an individual supporter.
This article will explain exactly how to do that.
Be Sure You Have Permission
MailChimp is pretty serious about making sure you have permission to email people. Their reputation (the reputation you’re borrowing) depends on it. See this MailChimp support page for details about what email addresses you can or cannot add to MailChimp. For missionaries, getting permission is probably not a big deal. If people gave you their email address on paper at your display table – specifically asking to get your prayer letter – that counts.
Log In to Your Lists
If you’re not still logged in from last time, log in to your MailChimp account now.
After you’re logged in, click Lists from the menu on the top of the page. That will take you to the page where you’ll see the new list you created last time.
The simplest (though not the fastest) way to add email addresses is to click the “Add a Subscriber” button for your list. The first time you view this page, MailChimp may point to that button with a card like the one in the picture above. If not, just find the button that looks like this:
When you click that button, MailChimp asks you about the person you want to add to the list. Using this method, you’ll enter one email address at a time.
Enter your prayer supporter’s email address and – if you have it – first and last name. Then be sure to check the checkbox to tell MailChimp that they gave you permission to send them your prayer letters. MailChimp won’t let you add the email address if you don’t check that box.
You’ll also see a note explaining that the user will not get a confirmation email, along with something about an IP address. For a bit of background, check out the double opt-in discussion under Send To The Right Address on Part 1 of this series.
When you’re all done filling out the form, just click that grey “Subscribe” button. MailChimp flashes a quick success message at the top of the screen, and that’s that.
Again: Be Sure You Have Permission
I know of at least one missionary whose account was temporarily disabled while a MailChimp representative requested proof that her supporters’ gave their consent to be added to the list. The missionary had to email MailChimp a photo or scanned copy of the signup form with the supporters’ email addresses to confirm that permission had indeed been granted.
So, please make sure you keep a copy of the paper with your supporters’ email addresses. This will help prevent your account from being disabled if MailChimp happens to check up on you.
Setting up your mailing list one name at a time can be pretty tedious. It’s also more likely that you’ll mistype one of those names or email addresses when you pile up too many of them to put in one at a time.
To speed things up and prevent typos, MailChimp has several ways to import names and addresses from other sources. We’ll look at some of those from a missionary perspective in the next post.
Don’t let the length of this article make the process look harder than it is. Take the time this week to add your own email address to your list. Being on your own list will let you make sure that all of your emails look how you want them to look.
And again, if you don’t have an account, check out Part 2 of this series to set one up. Remember you can go through this entire series and use MailChimp for your prayer letters without ever paying a cent for the service.