The Mailchimp system was discussed by email by Man Com in late 2014. Here are some of the emails which passed back and forth, giving the background to any policies which may evolve:
26 November 2014: A mailchimp newsletter was sent to all leaders Guild members, including this intro to Mailchimp:
The second innovation for Leaders is the Mailchimp mailing list.
As a dance leader, you may have questions about it – here are some of the obvious ones:
How would Mailchimp work for DUPUK?
This mailing list system allows dancers to sign up to receive emails according to their own preferences. When they sign up, on the DUPUK website, they are given a set of optional subjects to choose from. They can choose just one, or two, or as many as they like, by ticking one or more boxes before pressing the sign-up button. At present there is only one option “All Dance Event news”, as we have not yet started including dance leaders’ events in the system.
What choices might there be?
This system could be used for various purposes: for example, messages about important information regarding the DUPUK organisation itself could be sent to all members. Messages could be sent to just a selected group of people such as private memos to the Management Committee, or to dance mentors, or only to members of the Leaders Guild (this notice is an example – is has been sent just to Leaders Guild members, and no-one else).
Finally, and most importantly, notices may be sent by a dance leader to the actual people who have asked to be kept informed about their dance events. The notice would go to those people and no-one else.
I don’t want to share my email addresses with anyone else
Only you will send emails to your group. No-one would be able to send anything to a person on your group, unless that person also joined one of the other groups when they signed up.
Will dancers get emails from all the other groups, too?
Subscribers choose who they want to hear from. We must respect that by only sending to the appropriate group. Of course, some subscribers (people who sign up to receive emails) may opt to receive from several of the options, including the “All Dance Event news” which is already on offer. That option would be reserved for very occasional newsletters which DUPUK decides might be of more general interest, rather than just a small section of the dance community.
Will this benefit me and my dance group?
Using Mailchimp in this way could potentially make a big impact on the growth of your dance group. Adding your group to the list means that, in addition to all that you are already doing to reach new dancers, people from all over the UK would have the opportunity to find out about your group.
Is it better than the way I already send emails?
YES – it’s a safer way to send emails. As you probably know, emails sometimes seem to get “lost”. One reason for this is that the computers that receive emails are set up to protect recipients from unsolicited mail, or “spam”. The spam filters are becoming very effective, but sometimes it means they “block” emails from legitimate mailing lists. The trouble is, you usually don’t know your list is being blocked! Mailchimp has many features built in to make sure your emails get through.
I’m a dance leader. What do I do to get on the list?
If you want to be included, I will help you do two things:
1. I will add your group to the list of options which are offered to the website visitor when they sign up. For example, the option could say: “News of dances led by <your name>”.
2. The other part of this process would be that you send me your existing list and I will create your special group on the Mailchimp system. Then I, or you, can send future mailings via Mailchimp. As new dancers see the option and choose it, your list will grow and more dancers may come to your dance events.
(It would help if they can find out more about you and your dance events by looking you up on the “Dance Leaders” page of the website. If you haven’t yet got an entry on that page, please fill in your profile and request an entry to be added – email me when you are ready).
How do I find out how to send emails to my dancers?
At first, there will need to be a transition period where you send me the text of the message and I will send it out via Mailchimp. Eventually, the plan would be for each leader to be able to log on to the system and, after some simple training (don’t worry, it’s quite easy!), send their own messages.
2 Dec 2014 Alan Heeks asked to use DUP mailing list to advertise his trip to Iran. Man Com discussed policy on use of website and Mailchimp:
My second concern is to do with the policy regarding what is appropriate subject matter for mailings via the DUPUK mailing list.
As they are now sent using Mailchimp, I am keen to see ManCom develop a policy on how Mailchimp is to be used.
How would it be best to carry out such a discussion?
I have also started to receive requests from Leaders to have a group set up so that they can attract subscribers to add to their mailing list – and to add their existing list to that group to start it off. The problem is one cannot simply add a list of anonymous and unverified email addresses to Mailchimp. An old list may contain any number of ‘dead’ addresses, or – worse still – so called spam trap or ‘honeypot’ addresses, which can damage the reputation of the mailing list and have the account threatened with closure. So existing lists have to be validated and cleaned, and preferably authenticated by every person on the list by making them opt in. This is another aspect which is new to everyone and needs time for the necessary education of users of the system.
I would like to see some guidelines presented to Leaders Guild about appropriate use of the Mailchimp groups, before it is made generally available for use by Leaders.
I agree with yesterday’s discussion. I think the policy should continue to be that the DUPUK mailing list d not available for private ‘commercial’ – or promotional – use. To clarify, this would mean that it is inappropriate for leaders or dance organisers to mail everyone on the list, or anyone they feel like, whether they copy the addresses manually form the online list or they use mailchimp.
I am not sure what sanctions could be applied if this policy is ignored persistently.
On the other hand, I understand from the recent email to LG members that with mailchimp it is now much easier for them to reach the dancers who might be interested in their activities and events, which must be a clear benefit of belonging to the LG. So is the answer that a dancer should contact anyone on their lists and ask them to ‘opt in’ to DUPUK mailings? Can they do this already as Friends, ie non-members?
I agree that Leaders should not use the ‘full members list’ (the Mailchimp segment called “All Members”) for advertising something which is for personal gain only (like selling a house*). What should they do if they offer an event that every member could have an interest in, such as an AGM and free dance day? It is tricky to define “private ‘commercial’ – or promotional – use”, or to distinguish it from use which is for the benefit of members, but provided by an individual.
(*but we do apparently allow the website News blog to be used to sell houses? – When postiing a news item causes an email to be sent to all DUPUK members automatically – that’s the same as sending them all an email, isn’t it?)
Do we have a different policy for what can be posted on the Events Calandar?
As for using Mailchimp instead –
If a leader has added their existing mailing list to become a new Mailchimp group, he or she should use that Mailchimp group and no other when sending out news of his/her dance events – and not send to the segent called “All Members”. The “All Members” segment should be used only by ManCom, for official organisational matters,, such as notice of a meeting or a vote.
The situation might theoretically change if all members just happened to choose to opt into receiving emails from that leader’s group. Then, the leader would effectively reach all members, without using the “All Members” segment. This is possible, but unlikely.
I’m not sure if that answers your last couple of questions, because I couldn’t understand the questions, actually.
(So is the answer that a dancer should contact anyone on their lists and ask them to ‘opt in’ to DUPUK mailings?
Dancers don’t have lists, dance leaders do. What do you mean? Were you referring to dancers or dance leaders?
Can they do this already as Friends, ie non-members?
Dancers/friends/members of the public/visitors to the website can only join a list – they cannot ask anyone else to join or opt in. )
I missed this one, earlier:
>> I am not sure what sanctions could be applied if this policy is ignored persistently.
As I just wrote to Rabia – the recipients of emails have the power to regulate that, which I am sure works very well. In addition, in the early days, I envisage the outgoing email campaigns would be moderated by one or two of ManCom, anyway. Only later, would leaders be given authority to send campaigns as and when they choose.
And, all the time it goes on, the fine details of what happens to every campaugna nd subscriber is recorded and available for ManCom to observe – and to act upon if necessary.
I’ve been trying to work out what Aziz means by:
“So is the answer that a dancer should contact anyone on their lists and ask them to ‘opt in’ to DUPUK mailings? Can they do this already as Friends, ie non-members?”
Assuming there is no typo and that he means “dancer” not “dance leader”, then is it about dancers asking some of the people in their personal email address book? ie their friends? Asking them to go on the DUPUK website and sign up? That would be very welcome and could grow the lists a bit, but is not what I thought we were talking about, so I didn’t expect it.
Of course anyone can sign up. That’s what a sign-up page on the website is for. Anyone can sign up for any group (not that we have a choice of groups yet, but the principle is that there should be a selection of groups to choose from eventually). They can be dancers, friends of dancers, or Friends of The Dances – or non-members (that’s all the rest of the world, then). They can even be people who are not friends with anybody!
So – is it “the answer”? I don’t know Aziz – what question were you trying to answer?
One point that might be important to make clear, even if not relevant to this bit of discussion – people who subscribe to these groups CANNOT email anyone. The flow is only one-way: from the owners of the groups out to the subscribers to those groups.
This brings us back to Alan’s request – the only way for a non-list-owner to send to any list is to ask the owner of the list to send it out for them. It then depends on the owner whether it is appropriate or not. In this example, I personally think it is not, because the trip is (a) not predominantly a DUP dancing event, but rather a sufi/pilgrimage/holiday event and (b) because the full members’ list is to be used only for official DUPUK businesscommunications.
I think that LG members do not need to email all members, this could be reserved for ManCom, in the same way that emailing by mailchimp is reserved for ManCom.
As for the events calendar, I understand this is open to events led by a mentored dance leader, and information can be entered by a mentored dance leader or a current member of DUPUK on their behalf – but Maris will remember better than me the ‘test case’ recently with Nickomo and Rasula.
When dancers become Friends, I assume that any Friend could enter info for an event with a mentored dance leader.
I’ll answer your next email separately.
I am sorry I was confused. I meant to say that if dance leaders want to upload their contact lists, you are saying this is not possible, which I agree with; so I would suggest that the dance leader (eg Alan, Gulzar) mails to their contact list (without using DUPUK mailchimp), and ask their contacts to opt in to being a friend or contact of DUPUK. In this way the leader will be able to contact via DUPUK any who want to know about their DUP events, and the contacts can also choose to receive information from other leaders.
I also agree with your comments below about information for the Iran trip.
I’ll send a further thought with a separate header for clarity.
Just for clarification:
>>if dance leaders want to upload their contact lists, you are saying this is not possible
If a dance leader wants to have their list added to Mailchimp, they cannot upload it anywhere themselves – they must send it to me to have it validated and cleaned, then I add a group comprising the cleaned list. In fact, I’m inclined to think that we should insist that the cleaned list has a single email sent out, asking those who wish to be included in the future to click a link which takes them to the sign-up page for Mailchimp, where they add their name (at least their first name, or first and second if possible) after which Mailchimp sends them a confirmation which they have to reply to. This is the internationally-accepted way to populate a proper list, by the double opt-in process.
>> so I would suggest that the dance leader (eg Alan, Gulzar) mails to their contact list (without using DUPUK mailchimp), and ask their contacts to opt in to being a friend or contact of DUPUK.
They would not become a friend of DUPUK, they would opt for that dance leader’s group. They could of course choose any group, including that dance leaders and the main DUPUK general news group (the only one we have on there at the moment), but I imagine your are trying to describe how the leader would transfer their own list of people to Mailchimp, which in the most direct sense means they opt to be in that leader’s group, which would hopefully become a replacement for the leader’s own private mailing list.
There are many ways that replacement might be deemed not to have worked, and thus be later abandoned by the leader – for example: it is statistically known that only about 20% or less of emails sent out are opened. Secondly, if a list of 100 addresses is asked to double opt in, only a small proportion will accept and actually bother to opt in. These are two ways a leader might be led to believe the Mailchimp system is not worth joining. This would be to ignore the far safer technology behind Mailchimp, the more attractive styling, the ability of every subscriber to control and edit their own preferences at any time by logging in to their personal account at Mailchimp (that link is at the bottom of every email), the valuable stats that follow every mailout campaign, and so on.
>>In this way the leader will be able to contact via DUPUK any who want to know about their DUP events, and the contacts can also choose to receive information from other leaders.
>> LG members do not need to email all members
LG members might like to, and we can’t be sure there would never be a time when it might be appropriate for them to do so, my my intuition is that, for the moment, they shoud go through ManCom and thus ManCom would moderate what that list is used for. That’s not quite the same as a straight ban on LG members using the “All Members” list.
>> emailing by mailchimp is reserved for ManCom.
only at the moment while there are no leaders’ lists on Mailchimp. Once they start to add their own lists, leaders can use Mailchimp.
>> As for the events calendar, I understand this is open to events led by a mentored dance leader, and information can be entered by a mentored dance leader or a current member of DUPUK on their behalf…
this is exactly right, but
>> When dancers become Friends, I assume that any Friend could enter info for an event with a mentored dance leader.
That will not be possible for the technical reason that in order to log in and edit an event on behalf of a leader, the person must be registered on the database as ‘member’, and have a password allocated to them. Clearly this limits who can log in. If we do away with ordinary members, then only Leaders will be able to log in, so they will have to do all their own events entries (or, unofficially, share their login name and password with a trusted representative).
I’m not clear what our policy is on advertising via DUPUK events involving overseas teachers eg Wali and Arienne or Pir Shabda.
Have we agreed to have them in the events calendar? Does it follow that a mentored leader can use other communication means for such events?
I think a simple rule of thumb could be: does it serve the DUPUK and the UK dance community?
Wali and Arienne, Pir Shabda, Muiz, and other senior persons from abroad have visited the UK to lead events for the UK dance community to attend – in the UK. To me, that makes sense. Without any such advertising, the event would not be such a success and the UK as a community would have let them down, not to mention disappointed UK dancers who would like to have known about it. I see no good reason not to include such people’s events in our Events Calendar. We would not, however, advertise events which those leaders held abroad….. unless there were, again, good reasons to do so (would it serve the UK dance community?)
We wouldn’t advertise Wali and Arienne’s events in Germany, for example. In a slightly different case, though, I remember we discussed whether to allow events like Jilani’s dance camp in France, trip to Morocco…maybe others I’ve now forgotten. There is a fair amount of justification for supporting well known leaders in what could be outreach abroad, especially if it is likely that some UK dancers would love to go and support them in person.
So – it’s a matter of seeing things not always as ‘black-and-white’, but drawing guidlines so as to see clearly how to judge things which are in the grey areas.
>> Does it follow that a mentored leader can use other communication means for such events?
It may not ‘follow’ – may not be dependent upon the above – that a leader can use other means – but they certainly can, and probably will use other means when it suits them, and there is nothing wrong with that. They would be doing that in addition to anything we can provide the mechanisms for, or, when our mechanisms are not the appropriate ones, then they can fall back on what they already know and are allowed to use, of course.
I can’t imagine why anyone would want to take a group of people to Iran, let alone why people would sign up to go somewhere in such delicate balance. I too am puzzled by Alan suggesting that politically it would be a good time to go – I don’t think that is the case in either Iran or Turkey.
As well as that, I don’t really feel that we should use the mailing list to promote the business operations of individuals.
Personally I don’t like to receive emails from individuals promoting whatever. Anthony Ward is one who sends out information about Wali and Arienne’s visits and there was a woman in the south, I don’t remember her name who sent out information on a regular basis. I think there is a fine line between use and misuse which I think we should look to making clear when the system is in place when dance leaders can access many email addresses – ethical guidelines for proper use. It didn’t used to be the case that people could or would do this.I have just read Chris’s responses and I agree with all the points he makes.
>>I think there is a fine line between use and misuse which I think we should look to making clear when the system is in place when dance leaders can access many email addresses – ethical guidelines for proper use.
I agree. One of the great things about Mailchimp is that subscribers decide who they want to hear from about what and how often. They have the power to withdraw their own name from any list which oversteps their own mark. It is self-regulating in a very healthy and natural way.
We have been discussing a policy for LG emails and the website.
I thought it would be useful to have a simple policy which we could apply, and offer the following for discussion:
DUPUK principles of communication
1. The DUPUK website is a resource for Leaders Guild members and Friends of the dances (and currently any members of DUPUK)so that they can optimise communication about DUP matters and events in the UK.
2. Use of the website should be for DUP-related activity only.
3. Except as otherwise agreed by ManCom, [eg Wali and Arienne, Pir Shabda], only events involving LG members can be listed in the events calendar.
4 ManCom reserves the right to determine appropriate use of the website [eg not including overseas tours by leaders or members].
5. Individuals should not receive unsolicited emails, but can opt in to the categories of information about which they wish to be informed.
On the last point, if Pir Shabda or Wali Ali or a dance leader from New Zealand (for example) were coming to UK, and a member wanted to bring this to the attention of all members, I would suggest that on the first occasion this happens, the member could add a news item to the website, inviting fellow members to opt in to mailings about this.
I think it is vital for the reputation of the website and the organisation that members do not receive frequent unsolicited emails. I think the onus should be on people to check the website for information.
My 5 points above are intended to be simple guidelines which can be applied; I would prefer this to a list of many possible scenarios.
Let me know what you think.
On 11/12/2014 20:34, Chris Granger wrote:
Yes, nice and simple and they apply to all forms of communication, not just email, or just the Calendar. It may be easier for folk to remember if it is simple. I think there may, in addition, need to be a sort of ‘commentary’ to go with it, for the use of successive ManComs in applying the simple rules in particular cases. Examples of what would or would not be acceptable.
If points 1 to 5 were to be used in a published guide for Leaders, should the two sets of examples in brackets be omitted? Are they just for the sake of our discussion at the moment?
Can I ask if number 3 could be made even simpler if it was understood (or explained) that people like
Wali and Arienne and Pir Shabda are members of the LG (the international LG), so the rule could be that events can only be advertised if they are led by members of the (international) Leaders Guild (and the event takes place within the UK)? I think that, in any background commentary it could then give advice, for example, about whether it is OK for event postings, where some of the dance leaders are not mentored Leaders Guild members, to use the description text to say that “dances will be led by X Y and Z”, as a way of getting round the fact that X Y and Z are not in the drop-down list of available teachers? This is not just about use of communications, but the integrity of the dance leading practices themselves. We have a facility to include a ‘Guest Teacher’, but some events are including guest teachers who are not mentored LG members.
Re number 5: if the usage guidelines for Mailchimp are made clear and are adhered to, there should be no emails which appear to be unsolicited, because, by definition, the system is based on an ‘opt in’ principle. It would be possible to abuse, or over-use, the system, however, if senders of campaigns selected other groups which they are not entitled to send to – I don’t think there is a way of preventing that, so it would be important for that to be clearly explained and understood. As I have said, there ought to be an initial period when campaigns are sent by one of us, on a Leader’s behalf, so that there is some safeguard in the early stages.
Many thanks; I intended the bits in square brackets as illustrating our discussions, but not to be copied elsewhere.
I would prefer not to develop a commentary of successive ManComs: ManCom may be replaced next year anyway?
I would prefer item 3 to refer to UK LG members, as that is our remit, and to leave exceptions to the discretion of ManCom. I think there will not be contentious issues.
I don’t understand your comment
“I would prefer not to develop a commentary of successive ManComs: ManCom may be replaced next year anyway?”
My suggestion of a commentary was to keep on record some examples to make it quicker for future ManComs to attune to the way the present one understood the rules – to save reinventing the wheel as we usually do.
Thinking about what you said about:“I would prefer item 3 to refer to UK LG members, as that is our remit, and to leave exceptions to the discretion of ManCom. I think there will not be contentious issues.”
Usually it is obvious, but sometimes it is tricky to understand why people say things – why do you say you prefer to only refer to LG members? We already have a policy (discussed with the ManCom of the day, a few years ago) that some overseas leaders could be included in our databse to make it easier for organisers to include them in an event posting. There was no question that they should not be allowed to be advertised as leading dances in the UK event. Do you object to foreign leaders being advertised?Could you elaborate as to why you wish to exclude leaders such as Pir Shabda, Muiz, Matin, Shafia Stevens, Mariam Baker, and others? Surely, if they are prepared to travel all the way to the UK and give UK dancers the benefit of their expertise and baraka, we should do what we can to make it easy to organise and advertise the events and thus encourage, rather than discourage them ?
I’m sorry, I can’t see what we have to lose by rephrasing that rule in the way I suggested. Perhaps I have missed some danger, that you can clarify for me?
Dear All, again - i have now read all your emails re Mailchimp lists… Chris - have you responded or resolved any questions with the dance leaders who want to import their email lists to Mailchimp? To use the Mailchimp properly we should use the double opt-in sign up. The dance leaders will loose some people from their lists but it will be honest and clean. I thought of starting it off, but lets say i have Chris and Jannat on my mailing list and i send an email to them to sign up and opt in to my Mailchimp mailing list… Then next week Rabia will decide to begin her mailchimp list and sends out an invitation to everyone on her list. And Chris and Jannat will receive another invitation if they are on Rabia’s current list. And then a week after Aziz will send out his invitation and Chris and Jannat will get yet another email to opt in to Mailchimp… you catch my drift? Perhaps we should start by adding the names of the dance leaders who are willing to work with the Mailchimp system (maybe we should send out a direct invitation to all dance leaders who are willing to a) learn how mailchimp works b) put in the time and energy it takes to get their mailing lists up there…). Then, once we have a bunch of dance leaders on the list, we could send out a general mail to all members, asking to opt in to their choice of dance leaders, so that they dont get 60 emails from 60 dance leaders… After that the dance leaders could add to their lists by sending out emails to their contacts who are NOT currently DUPUK members… Is that of any help?
I have given this a lot of thought because there are several ways this coud be done, each having its pros and cons. What I think is a workable system which has the greatest chance of working with the least amount of aggravation from too many emails being sent to individuals is as follows:
1.We invite all Leaders to join the Mailchimp system by first sending me their mailing list for me to screen;
the screening process would involve me first sending the list to Data Validation to get a report of the condition of each email address. This cost very little (7 dollars per thousand). The report grades the email addresses like this:
There are notes on the grades A to F here: https://datavalidation.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201572353-What-do-the-codes-in-my-Email-Assurance-Report-mean–
The above graphic is just a rough guide – the paid service shows each email address with several markers to say how they responded in the tests. It would show why the 4 got a grade F – possibly dead addresses, deceased people or spamtraps.
Secondly, I would determine which of the addresses are already on our Mailchimp list. The remainders would then be sent back to the leader, with the validation report (just for interest and insight into which might be more or less likely to respond), so that the leader could email those remainder asking them to sign up and join their group. (I would add their group on the website first).
I could include a suggested wording for the basis of the invitation email that leaders send to their unsubscribed remainder.
Those from the leader’s list who I found to be already signed up, I would join them to that leader’s list manually. This way they join a group without being emailed. We know that addresses already on the Mailchimp list are ‘clean’ addresses, so they don’t need to double opt in.
After a month or so, I could inspect the list, looking for members of the leader’s list who have subsequently signed up. I could report back to the leader with those who have and those who haven’t. They could then, if they wish, try to contact those last few again. After a while, it will be less worthwhile chasing the last few.
As successive leaders’ list come to me, I could repeat the process.
Gradually, a bigger proportion of a list will be ‘already signed up’, so I can just add them to the leader’s group, and a shorter list goes back to the leader to be asked to sign up. This should minimise the duplication of emails that individuals receive.
After a period (a couple of months? ) leaders could begin using Mailchimp to send out news. (They might still feel a need to try sending to the remainders who didn’t sign up – but that is their decision)
I have a list I could start the ball rolling with – John Rees sent me his a couple of weeks ago, and I told him it would take a while to get the process started. If any of you three want to send me lists, I can do them, too. Then perhaps we can invite the others in the new year? I think Christmas is probably not the best time to get leaders to enthuse about this sort of thing.
So – any comments?
Aziz – is the new Paypal account fully verified with the test micropayments so that I can use funds from the bank account to pay for the validation service? A list of 200 addresses will cost 1.5 USD.
You should be able to use the Paypal account as described.
Your methodology sounds Ok to me.
I don’t have an active list of my own to send at the moment.
I went to purchase a report from DataValidation and found that they don’t take PayPal. I forgot that.
They only take cards. Do you have a debit card yet?
Having thought about it, it’s probably not practical to use the debit card, as I’d have to have the number and pin etc, which is not good security-wise. Maybe it’d be simpler if I just pay with my card and send you a bill when I’ve run up a worthwhile amount, like £10 or so. How does that suit you?