Best Kept Secret on Email Productivity!
Working in the nonprofit sector is essentially doing a lot with very little. I always have more than I can do and far fewer resources. Personally, I oversee and produce between 12-20 live programs and conferences in thirteen cities in three countries, I speak at 6-10 conferences, and I organize around 30 digital programs every year. There are hundreds of people I communicate with that are our stakeholders- from sponsors, attendees, partners, and media to vendors and venues. I rarely endorse or write about technology providers. I try to be platform neutral, but in this series, I am going to share with you all my top tools and how I use them to do more with less. Friends don’t hide resources and the secret of their success from friends! So here we go!
My first and absolute favorite tool that I swear by is Mixmax, so much so, that I reached out to the founder & CEO Olof Mathé and asked him to make a donation to us and allow us to use it for free. I also asked him to make a donation available to nonprofits in our network, and he obliged! Please see details below.
So what is Mixmax? It is your gmail on superproducivity steroids – like you have 4 assistants managing your email! It is like cold and refreshing ice cream on a scorching summer day, or to put it in nonprofit terms (Vu Le), it’s like getting a multi-year operating grant!
Email Tracking: Yes, you want to know when that funder received your application, or someone has clicked a link to your impact report or registration link to the gala. Gone are the days of saying, “I think that email went to my spam folder.” This feature allows you to track if an email has been opened, a link has been clicked, and how many times the email has been opened and reviewed.
One-Click Meetings: I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this feature!
The nonprofit sector might as well be called the “have endless meetings sector”. I am constantly trying to find times to speak with future speakers, partners, sponsors, volunteers and then some. This feature allows me to pick times I am available and let the other person decide what works best for them. Once they click, it creates reminders both for them and for me and adds the meeting to our calendars. If they pick a time that is taken, it alerts them to pick another. It’s seamless and extremely efficient.
Send Later: Burning the midnight oil and cranking out 300 emails? Yes, that happens sometimes, especially if you are a small organization. Or you find yourself working on a Saturday afternoon before your vacation — if you are able to take a real vacation, lucky you– but you’re worried about what will happen while you’re gone. This feature lets you write your emails and schedule them to be sent at a later time. This works wonderfully to thank people first thing after a major gala or event, when you are in a zombie state after days of event preparation and the eventual crash.
Templates: This is a great feature for creating base templates for recurring events, such as an introduction to your work, speaker and sponsor confirmations, volunteer welcome notes and such. Anything that you send a lot of could be created as a template and you can simply modify each time. It’s far more efficient than copying and pasting from a word doc. It even retains a subject line!
Polls and Surveys: Do you have poor survey and response rates in general? Sending them to another portal/site may be the culprit, worry no more! You can insert simple surveys right in the body of the email, making it far more likely that people will you give you a response. I often ask places for meetings, food choices, date preferences, and even simple brainstorming to get input on names of programs or blog titles!
Link Previews: This simple yet beautiful feature lets you create a preview of links you share from blog posts and websites, to Twitter streams and LinkedIn profiles. This is a beautiful, convenient feature that makes your email far more alive and functional.
There are many more features like group scheduling (think Doodle), CRM integration, Box and Dropbox integration and more. These tips are my favorite and how I use this platform to power my work, and to make a much greater impact. It allows me to cut out the mechanical and pointless back-and-forth.
We are grateful that Mixmax is allowing us to share our best-kept secret with you all. This is a small but significant way that Silicon Valley startups partner with nonprofits like us all around the world to make a difference and help us accomplish more.
Nonprofit Discount to SM4NP Community:
If you are interested in trying this tool, there is a basic free version. You can get a 55% discount on all the benefits of the professional tier (this is what I have) by getting the professional tier ($19/month) at the price of starter tier ($9/month), just by clicking on this link. In just one day, I save enough time and headache to justify the small investment all month long.
Disclaimer: We use Mixmax professional and it has been generously donated to us by Mixmax, but we are not otherwise compensated or asked to do this review. This is part of our internal outreach for tools to use extensively and to secure a discount for our community members.