How to do mass mailings to Association members?
March 5, 2008 8:20 AM   Subscribe

This should be easy, but it has me tearing my hair out. I need an online account that will allow six or seven people (the directors) to share an email list of about four hundred addresses. Each of the directors would have his/her own email address, and could access the account to send mass mailings to the larger group.

I manage communications for a large homeowners' association. The directors occasionally need to send a mass mailing to the individual homeowners. I'm looking for an account that will allow any of the (six or seven) directors to log in, send a message to the homeowners, and recieve replies from various individuals in the association. The email addresses would have the form "" (or something along those lines). The kicker is that each of the directors would need access to the same address book.

I tried Yahoo, but it was a mess, with unpredictable reliability and severe restrictions on the number of addressees for any given message. I'm trying Google Groups now, and have acquired a domain name for my group. The trouble is, the only names that show up in the "shared" address book are the directors themselves, not the four hundred homeowners.

I don't want to give each of the four hundred homeowners his/her own Google Groups email account, nor do they want that. They all want to recieve association mail at their everyday email addresses.

How can I give a handful of directors thier own email addresses, and shared access to a large address book?
posted by dinger to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Does the association already have their own domain? If so, what tools does your hosting provider have available?

This would be easy to do with Dreamhost (for example, because that is what I am using). All by using the web panel you can:
  • create multiple logins for the web panel with varying levels of permissions
  • create any number of email address that either have their own mailboxes and/or forward to other email addresses.
  • build a mailing/announce list
  • send out email to the announce list, while specifying a from/reply-to email address on the fly

posted by mikepop at 8:38 AM on March 5, 2008

For the application you're describing, the usual tool is a mailing list. You would create a mailing list of all the homeowners and directors, allowing post access for the directors only. The directors would e-mail the list address and the e-mail would be sent to all the homeowners, with replies going directly to the director that sent the message.

If I'm not misunderstanding, that covers everything you're looking for; this is something you can set up easily using free online services like Yahoo Groups etc. If I am misunderstanding, can you give some more details?
posted by pocams at 8:48 AM on March 5, 2008

Set up two mailing lists. One, for the directors to email everyone. Two, for everyone to mail the directors.

The first only passes along email from the directors. It sets the address of the second as the "reply-to," & possibly as the "from" header.

As for the large address book: Thunderbird has some documentation on doing that. If you're partial to Outlook or Lotus Notes or webmail, say something.

On preview: mikepop's got most of it, I think.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:53 AM on March 5, 2008

Response by poster: Yes, we do have our own domain. Let's call it "". The it's hosted by Google Groups. I've given each of the seven directors his/her own email address, such as "", "", etc. As one of the directors, I populated my own address book with the email addresses of the four hundred association members. Trouble is, when any of the other six directors log in, the only addresses in their "shared" address book are those of the seven directors. I need to give each director access to all four hundred names -- seems like it should be so simple.

Thanks for your suggestion, mikepop. I'll investigate Dreamhost.
posted by dinger at 8:53 AM on March 5, 2008

Response by poster: I tried Yahoo first, and it was terrible. First, Yahoo wouldn't allow more than two hundred addresses in a single mailing list, so we had to split all mailings into two lists. Some mailings would go out fine, some would never reach their recipients. Sometimes, the first half-list would get through, but the second would just disappear. Finally, Yahoo unceremoniously dropped our account on suspicion that we were notice, no appeal, no recourse. Terrible experience. Stay away from Yahoo for anything you really need to depend on.

A mailing list is indeed what I'm looking for, but a mailing list (unless I'm mistaken), is part of an address book, and for the seven directors to all have access to the same mailing list, they'd have to have access to the same address book. That's the hurdle I'm trying to jump: how to give the directors individual email accounts, and at the same time give them access to a single, universal address book?

Let me describe the situation another way. I have all four hundred names in my Google Groups address book. I have a mailing list in my address book that allows me to send mail to all four hundred members. Works like a charm. Trouble is, the other six directors don't have access to my address book, so they don't have access to the mailing list.

I could duplicate the address book and mailing list six times for each of the six other directors, but then instead of maintaining one list, I'm maintaining seven, with a significant duplication of effort.
posted by dinger at 9:12 AM on March 5, 2008

I think you misunderstand what a mailing list is. It's not a list of x hundred addresses in your address book.

Go to[yourlistname]/members_invite and then to the add members directly space.

add your 400+ there. Then go to:[yourlistname]/manage_access and only allow managers to post messages.

then set your directors to be managers, by editing their individual memberships.

I run lists (not on google, but elsewhere) with 50,000 + members. It's a well established technology.
posted by idb at 9:26 AM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Final setp is that your managers send email to [yourlistname]
posted by idb at 9:27 AM on March 5, 2008


I keep forgetting elements, but you probably want to moderate all messages and make sure replies go to the author, unless you set up a mini list for your directors, e.g.
posted by idb at 9:28 AM on March 5, 2008

Try MailChimp. It was suggested to me in a prior thread. It's worked great for me.
posted by scottso17 at 12:47 PM on March 5, 2008

Because idb didn't mention it: a mailing list lets you send one email with one recipient to the server, which then sends it individually to everyone on the list. You probably don't require the shared address book. Depending on the system, you can ask them to subscribe themselves by pointing them to a web page on the server or sending a certain message to a special address on the server.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:07 AM on March 6, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you idb and Pronoiac for your explanations (you're right, I didn't understand), and scottso17 for your suggestion. I still don't quite get it, but now I've got some starting points. I thought this would all be a little more intuitiveā€¦
posted by dinger at 10:58 AM on March 6, 2008

« Older Developing into Development   |   I can't stop stimming! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.