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In an effort to cut costs, go green and simplify our lines of communication with our parents, we would like to implement an e-blast newsletter within our school. Has anyone had success or failure with an email blast tool that they would like to share? I do not want to use something that will inundate parents with pop-up ads and banners, but do want to find a user-friendly service. Any suggestions?

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Can't you do this with OMDR? We didn't use it much last year, but intend to do so this year. I'm pretty sure that this is one of the advantages.
I haven't looked into this, but we want to communicate with all parents, not just those who have already joined the PTA (not all spouses are members, not all parents have joined yet, etc.). I will research and hope someone else posts. Thanks!
If they aren't members, how are you going to get their email addresses?
We are going to be using parent express e-mail, We will start off the year by sending out an e-mail to ALL parents. They will then have the option of unsubscribing if they no longer wish to receive them. Last year I only sent e-mails out to those who signed up for them. I have heard a lot of people stating they didn't know about our e-mails at all. This way hopefully no one will be able to say that.

Be careful, and read the Constant Contact terms carefully. Most email service providers don't allow that type of program - what's called an "opt-out" program. If they get complaints, they can cancel your account.

Two other good providers:

I have also heard that Vertical Response is good and will offer a free account for all 501c(3)s once proper documentation is sent. And I was also told there are no banner ads. I have not checked this out for myself, but definitely will.
One school tried offering newsletter, email newsletter or both. Didn't work out well. Going back to paper because not everyone is able or wants to get the newsletter by email.

Two other schools went 100% electronic and you must be a member to receive the newsletter. These succeeded and drove up membership. Other services to consider:
I like The Groupery at It's free. It has other features but you can start with it's email list manager and keep it that simple. You can also sell sponsorships that go at the bottom of your messages as a fundraiser.
I work for a non-profit and use Vertical Response - they give non-profits (I'm sure a pta would be eligible) 10,000 free emails a month!

It has several different email builders so the novice or advanced html person can use it.
Re: enewsletters - I have had success with MyEmma, Constant Contact or Campaign Monitor. There is some cost involved, but it depends on how many emails you send out and how often. You are able to monitor who opens the emails, who forwards them and who goes onto your website - giving you an idea of who your more involved parents might be. Good Luck!


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