University Web Developers

University Web Developers

First: this is not another thread about “what newsletter service do you recommend”.

Rather, my question is, to what extent does your central Communications / PR office support email newsletters by departments and other campus units? Some of whom have very low understanding of HTML.

With recent budget cuts, I forsee getting more and more calls for help with creating departmental email newsletters, the same way we currently provide support for departmental web sites. I can see responding in a number of ways, large and small; for example (from least to most support):

creating a help page with a list of vendors, university logos to download, suggestions on how to create effective email (but otherwise, you’re on your own)
providing access and support to a listserv on campus (for example Lyris) with University-approved templates
Purchasing an account with an online service and providing templates
doing everything centrally; just send me your Word doc and we’ll make an email for you

Anybody doing one of the above or something similar? Or do you just let campus units do their own thing? Seems to me like we tried to let folks “do their own thing” with web pages, and that didn’t turn out very well ...

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We are considering contracting with an e-mail marketing service that provides an "agency" or "org" edition. We'd set up our departments as clients, provide templates, and let them handle it from there. But right now, we're unsure of how we'd cover the costs involved, and how much of our time it would take beyond creating the templates (monitoring to make sure alumni aren't getting inundated with e-mails, training, support, hand-holding).

Anyone have any experience with this approach?
I use campaign monitor and each department or area is set us as a client. They pay for sending the emails themselves using their department credit cards. They send emails using templates that I design based on their needs.

It is somewhat time consuming to set up the templates, but once they are good to go, it is pretty painless. Occasionally someone has a question or a modification, but if you get most of the details nailed down in the design process, they pretty much take care of themselves.

Also, Campaign Monitor allows you to totally brand your client page, so it can maintain the look and feel of your institutional web page, if you are so inclined.

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