University Web Developers

University Web Developers

To be clear from the outset, my question is about distributing internally-targeted html newsletters, not newsletters for external audiences.

What push-type channels are folks using to communicate regularly with faculty, students and staff? We have a weekly newsletter that we currently send out through a slightly Rube Goldbergian process that involves Dreameaver, Word and Outlook/Exchange. But we already know that this process will stop working once certain software upgrades take place in the next few months. And did I mention that the process is clunky anyway?

We don't want to use our ConstantContact account because, one, we don't want to pay to send an internal newsletter, and two, all CC e-mails have to have an opt-out link to comply with CANSPAM, and with an internal-only newsletter that contains important administrative announcements, we don't want them opting out.

We've looked at the CiviMail component of the open source CiviCRM package, but it's even clunkier than our current process. But we need some means to send out an attractive piece that works on multiple e-mail clients (Outlook, Apple Mail, Entourage) similar to what CC does for our external audiences.

Any ideas or experiences that anyone cares to share would be gratefully appreciated.

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I'm in the same boat right now. Trying to design several internal only HTML email newsletters. We're using Campaign Monitor for several external newsletters, which is a life saver, but no one wants to pay to use a system to send internal emails.

As of now I'm hand-coding the HTML as if it were 2002, then open the page in IE, Ctrl-A to select all, and paste into a new Outlook message. Works pretty well for the most part, though I've only checked the design in Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo. Most everyone on campus is using Outlook 2007.

Several months ago we tried some software from ActiveCampaign. It looked promising, but still not the easiest thing to use. I eventually moved to Campaign Monitor for our external emails, and the projects involving ActiveCampaign dropped off the radar until now.

As for CANSPAM, I was under the impression that this kind of situation doesn't apply. If you're a current student or an employee, you should expect to receive email from the institution and not be able to opt out. Well, maybe not for students...maybe, but certainly for employees.
I have been looking at this recently for a personal project myself. I have been considering rolling my own, but I just did a freshmeat search and it looks like there are potentially tons of apps out there pre-built. I searched for 'email list'. Here are a few of the more promising hits. Some have web interfaces so you can easily build emails right on them.

http://freshmeat.net/projects/pommo
http://freshmeat.net/projects/simple-mail-distributor
http://freshmeat.net/projects/subetha
http://freshmeat.net/projects/gutuma <- nice interface
http://freshmeat.net/projects/openmaillist
http://freshmeat.net/projects/web-mailing-list

There were many more pages worth of results I did not look through. That combined with some better keywords and you just may find yourself a nice free solution.
Some great references here. Thanks!
Also take a look at this Yammer thing. It's basically a private twitter I think (without being able to actually use it)
http://cuwebd.ning.com/forum/topics/microsharing-yammer

That brings up another idea though, what about a private twitter server?
http://freshmeat.net/projects/laconica
http://sourceforge.net/projects/minitt/
Hello,

We have developed a custom application that revolves around a very easy-to-use web form that's used by our staff to submit postings that can consist of announcements and/or events. This information is used to generate a bi-weekly newsletter that we call Campus Grapevine. You can see the online version here:
http://www.sunyorange.edu/wea/grapevine/campus

When the user submits an announcement, they choose the publication date from the available list. The posting goes into the approval queue for our director of communications, who uses an approver dashboard to review and approve (or deny) postings. The event part of the posting gets automatically added to our web calendar of events.The latter serves as an extra incentive for the staff to add the announcements.

We also have removed the capability for staff to use a campus-wide listserv to send anything they want. So the Grapevine is our main channel for communication.

We'll be also going live with the Student Grapevine based on the same application this fall.

I'll be happy to answer any specific questions.

Artur
Impressive. Is your web calendar also a part of the custom app or is it a piece of existing software you've tied into? Can submitters include images or other media with their submissions?

In the Grapevine FAQ, I see that you ensure appropriate lead time by limiting the available publication dates. It sounds like submitters may only select one date for publication. Is your policy to only announce an event once (and let it roll to the Recent Announcements list)? Do people make multiple submissions in an attempt to get their announcement into two (or more) consecutive issues?

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