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How do you do....it? Thread, Email parents en mass in Technical; I have been asked if there is a way we can setup mass emailing for staff to email parents and ...
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    timbo343's Avatar
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    Email parents en mass

    I have been asked if there is a way we can setup mass emailing for staff to email parents and was wondering if anyone here already did it.

    We have our own exchange server in house which is Exchange 2010 standard, so as i am aware we can only have one global address book. The problems i can see with this is that i would need to set every parent up as a contact in our AD and link an email address to them, then set them up in exchange. Surely there has got to be an easier way of doing this? Is there not a way we can use SIMS to so call mail merge the emails.

    Not everyone here uses Outlook as a client either. The majority use OWA but only the admin team have outlook. How do people get round this when using services such as live@edu and googlemail?

    So i am asking, how do you do it or what is the best way of doing it, if you have are doing things like this already.

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    Steve21's Avatar
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    Although not quite the answer you're after, we're using: Groupcall - supplies Communication and data extraction tools to the Education, Public and business sectors.

    Can be done to phones/landlines/emails etc etc

    Yes it's pay, and yes it's "standalone" as such, (as far as I know it cant be emailed directly through outlook etc, unless it's just something we haven't setup), but an option if you get stuck I guess Would be interesting to see what others are doing too

    Steve

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    Not exactly a turnkey solution, but I did it by writing some code for our intranet using EWS that pulls the parents email addresses (by form or set) from our MIS, then automatically creates a draft message on our Exchange server and opens it in webmail.

    The same would be possible with Office 365, but not with Google Apps as the API for Gmail is rubbish.

    We do also have an account with ClarionCall for whole-school messages and SMS, but very few people have access to that here and general staff were clamouring for a way to email all the parents in their form.
    Last edited by AngryTechnician; 24th May 2012 at 08:35 AM.

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    Does everyone have access to SIMS? You could use the intouch module, which allows staff to send a group email to selected parents via SIMS and I believe if a parent responds it will go to the mailbox of a sender or of a predefined mailbox.

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    @Max_Power

    I dont think we have bought the intouch module. Maybe this is a suggestion

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    Just had a quote back for InTouch module, £2500 and they wont just offer the email service, it comes as a full text and email package... damm.

    Has anyone else got a way of doing this?

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    is that dam, because its a little on the expensive side, or because you dont want text functionality?

    Schoolcomms offer a very similar service but it is a little cheaper http://schoolcomms.com/getting-start...r-order-online
    Last edited by Max_Power; 24th May 2012 at 01:31 PM.

  8. Thanks to Max_Power from:

    Schoolcomms (6th June 2012)

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    Both, as for SchoolComms, i think its still on the expensive side. Surely there has to be someone out there that is doing this already with a low cost solution

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    Quote Originally Posted by timbo343 View Post
    Both, as for SchoolComms, i think its still on the expensive side. Surely there has to be someone out there that is doing this already with a low cost solution
    Not that it's really "slick" in it's working, but if you want something stupidly cheap, and "easy" how about this:

    Create an inbox for new user (Lets called it "MailParents")
    Create local contacts for "MailParents" with each parents email (aka not through global address book)
    Setup rule that on email to "Mailparents" it'll autoforward it to distribution group (that has all the parents assigned to it)

    That way there are no emails showing internally to anyone, but techies/admins etc
    You can add/remove parents easily.
    Any staff can easily email the mailbox and contact parents etc
    (ps it's free)

    Any thoughts? Yes it'll take time to setup, but then that's what comes for not paying

    Steve

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    BJG
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    May not be relevant, but just thought I'd mention it...

    https://www.parentmail.co.uk/

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    We recently had to do this to contact parents of year groups with regards to consultation evenings. I solved this with a no-cost solution of using our website, which runs on CMS Made Simple.

    We don't use an exchange server and our e-mail client (Fronter) doesn't have the functionality (it does but it would take -forever-) to achieve this, so options were limited.

    We use SIMS.
    I had our SIMS Data Manager run a report containing all e-mail addresses supplied by parents in a tab-separated text file (which our website needs), one report for each year group.
    I installed a module on CMSMS (Targeted Newsletters Made Simple) that allows the import of contacts from a text file, essentially creating 1000+ contacts, creating a category for each year group and importing the e-mails as a year group batch.
    Instructed the member of staff needing to send the mail on how to create the message on the website.
    Sent the mail, the web server runs a mail script that sends out a mail for every address within a category in batches of 50. The whole process was done in under a minute.

    No-cost, not much effort involved.
    Depends on your web server hosting, you can find php-based script equivalents.

    Considering the HT was not willing to spend any money on a ParentMail-type of solution, this was the best one I could come up with.
    Last edited by Mako; 24th May 2012 at 02:33 PM.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Also check your T&C's for your webhost if you do the above. Some don't allow bulk mailing and/or have automated systems to stop it.

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    A potential downfall of using a self made system will always be the updating of the information whether that be new students entering school or existing information. Someone would need to be responsible for updating SIMS and then the delivery group. Using either intouch or schoolcomms or other paid for system would get rid of that need.

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    Probably won't help your specific issue but SchoolBase provides email to parents, including mailmerges, and text messaging, all within the MIS system and in the basic package. Worth thinking about if you change MIS at least.

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