Creating an e-mail list from volunteer form responses
April 22, 2006 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I am building a website for a nonprofit and they want to have a volunteer sign-up form on their site where the input can easily be turned into an e-mail list.

The idea being that Joe Smith would sign up to volunteer and then the information he submitted would automatically become part of a volunteer e-mail list. In an ideal world, Joe’s email address and other information would all be stored in one place. Is there an easy, free way to do this without using a database? The group’s current hosting package does not include databases. Thanks in advance for your great advice.
posted by JuliaKM to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Without a DB, you can still use PHP or Perl to append information to a text flatfile, ideally written into your root directory or in a protected directory where it can't be accessed by users surfing your site or poking around.

Also I'm sure you've heard this already but it would be a good idea to make sure people can opt-in to this list as some individuals may not want their E-mail used for announcements (or may want a different address used).
posted by zek at 12:04 PM on April 22, 2006


A couple of ideas:

Firstly, the more techy solution: If your server includes PHP, ASP, Perl or similar, you could write (or download) a script that would store email addresses in a text or xml file. The file should be stored somewhere that's not web-accessible, i.e. above the web-server directory (this is often called htdocs) to keep it secure. You could then import this file into a mass-mailing program when you want to do a mailing. You'd also have to allow users to unsubscribe.

Secondly, an easier option: Use Campaign Monitor. They can give you a form to put on your website that handles subscribing and unsubscribing. Campaign Monitor also allows you to manage the mailings, and gives you some templates for the emails etc. It costs $5 per mailing, plus 1 cent per recipient, with no subscription or setup fees.
posted by matthewr at 12:09 PM on April 22, 2006


What zek said.
posted by matthewr at 12:09 PM on April 22, 2006


Depends on how many people you are expecting to sign up.

phplist is free and it works well if you know how to set these things up.
posted by freq at 1:00 PM on April 22, 2006


freq: From the website: "PHPlist .. uses an SQL database for storing the information"

From the question: "Is there a way to do this without using a database?"
posted by matthewr at 1:22 PM on April 22, 2006


Thanks for all of the tips. I decided to go with CCMail. Set-up was a breeze and it looks like it will meet the nonprofit's needs perfectly.
posted by JuliaKM at 5:46 PM on April 22, 2006


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