How would you do this?

  • xirokx
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi,

Website n00b here....need some expert advice please...

Ok as you know well some of you I volunteer for a charity...

They have asked me to research setting up a newsletter on the web which they can email all their sponsors and donors once a quarterly or once a month to advise them of how their money is being spent etc etc....

They already have a website, which supports php, mysql and they have a list of 300 - 400 contacts of course all email addresses....

How would we set this up? whats the easiest way?

Ideally it would be great if we could create 1 newsletter and click send or do the necessary so all contacts recieve the newsletter...

All ideas and help would be most appreciated..

Thanks in advance for any replies I recieve

Cheers!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • articlehorizon.com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You can use any autoresponder for that.
  • xirokx
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Post 3+ Months Ago

read it again....
  • Ted
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'd prefer to know some things that determine your options.

1) is your site hosted internally, or externally? Or, more directly, do you have local access to the database or donors locally, or not, or you don't know?

2) If 1) was either "hosted local" or "can access the DB", would you be using windows, linux, or something else to access it? This determines some options like whether and what kinds of local scripts can easily be used to generate your emails.

3) do you have a "shell account" on your web host, or not? Can you use SSH, telnet, or VNC to access the server?

4) if 3) was "yes, I have shell access" then is the remote server Linux, Sun, or Windows? This determines some options like whether and what kinds of remote scripts can be used to generate your emails.

5) If you don't have local or shell access, but you can FTP PHP or Perl files to the web server, that leaves you with some options to use a web page to handle the mailer.

For a number of reasons, I'd resist using 5) for bulk emails. Its not really a job for a web server even if one can do it that way. I'd tend to use a command line script either locally or remotely. But then, I've always been a command line kinda guy.

6) What sort of privacy is attached to the database of donors? do you need any special steps to protect the data? for example, you can create one email with 300 recipients, or 300 emails with one each. If you use a BCC: rather than TO: or CC: address, you can discretely send it to everyone with one email, too.

What this should help you do is recognize where the constraints on your solution are. If the webserver can not send emails outside a local domain, for example (as one server I use can't), then a web server solution will never work for you anyway, right?

Ted
  • xirokx
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Post 3+ Months Ago

hey ted,

charity sight is located externally......therefore i skipped options your points 2, 3, 4 and 5....

Their host is happy for them to send mass emails, security wise I am not so sure how to keep the donor info server side secure, perhaps you have an idea?

I was thinking mysql database and php to send out the emails...

I know there are alot of scripts which can help me do this as I have never played with mysql and just a little bit with php...

I was looking at a sonic mailer pro 3 php script to do this entire job for me...

what do you think?

thanks for all help and advice so far, its most appreciated

cheers!
  • Impel GD
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I did post about a third party service for email campaigns, but it must have been deleted. It wasn't meant as spam - I'd just tried it out and liked it. The advantage is they handle all the techie bits for you, leaving you to concentrate on the content. If you want to know what it is PM me xirokx.
  • Ted
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Post 3+ Months Ago

xirokx,

External hosting (1) means that you may not have local access to the database (2). You may want to test if you can configure any MYSQL tools to connect to the remote server from a local host. I don't lay much hope in this as most of the servers I've used have only permitted access from their own internal servers.

You may still have a shell access (3,4), and have FTP or some some of access to the webserver (5). Shell access is reasonably likely and will be easier. I find more than 50% of my servers allow me shell access -- a great help when file permissions are an issue.

Sending emails requires research with your hosting service. I know one of my hosting companies prevents the webserver from sending to a domain that is not hosted on their servers -- so I can send a contact email, but I can't forward anything to other sites.

Other questions to ask are:
Whether you can simply access Sendmail, or not? Do they provide a List Server, would also be good to know. If they provide the list server, then your donors can self-register, or be registered by you (a config setting), and you prepare your email in your favorite tool and mail it to the list server, and you're done.

Again, each question either opens or closes options. If you check the "easy answers" first, your questions often become more specific and even simpler.

Quote:
I was looking at a sonic mailer pro 3 php script to do this entire job for me...

what do you think?


I'm thinking that requires access to sendmail and your hosting service may not allow that. If they don't allow sendmail, its not an option to solve the problem. ;-) And I've always used a List Server to handle bulk mail, rather than the webserver.

As for security, that also needs questions to the provider. Do you have Apache as a server and .htaccess files for control? How can you build user and group access lists? You're looking at building a form, and I'll guarantee your host and your donors will be angry if spammers can send anything through your form. That is why the one provider only allows mails to internal domains: no one is getting spam but the customer with the form.

Ted
  • xirokx
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Post 3+ Months Ago

the webhost does support PHP and MYSQL.....

The program I listed above has user interfaces and form wizards which can help you create user groups and contact groups....it even imports your contacts from notepad files.....that scripts does everything, i meant everything for you, they actually have a demo version which I used and it simply rocks :)

I will speak to my host and then see if they mind me emailing from their server, as far as Im aware all i need is a smtp email addy and Im good to go....

I maybe wrong?

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