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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Best group email for neighborhood watch

    Hi all,

    A couple of years ago I created a group for our neighborhood watch organization using Windows Skydrive, added members, and was able to broadcast messages and alerts to our membership. When MS changed Skydrive to Onedrive they dropped a lot of the group functionality. Now they won't allow the creation of any new groups and it's becoming ever increasingly difficult to work with what is left. With all that being said, a lot of our members do not want to participate in any sort of social group, such as Facebook and so on. This limits me somewhat.

    What I need is some sort of group email system where an email addressed to a single email address broadcasts the message to anyone that is subscribed. I hope this makes sense. It would be nice if this service was free since we don't have any funds. Does anyone have any suggestions for some sort of email broadcast service?
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  3. #2
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    Not sure if a service like MailChimp would be of use to you. With less than 2000 subscribers, you can send up to 12000 emails per month, for free.
    Rui
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    R4

  4. #3
    Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Not sure if a service like MailChimp would be of use to you. With less than 2000 subscribers, you can send up to 12000 emails per month, for free.
    Hmmm, not sure. I need the central email address be available to all our members if anyone needs to broadcast an alert. How about Google Groups? I was looking at that last night. It seems that you can add non Google email addresses without them having to sign up??? Anybody have any experience with this?

    Thanks!
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  5. #4
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    You can use Outlook.com. You use "People" for contacts and groups. See Contact list management in Outlook.com for details on groups & contacts.

    Joe

  6. #5
    Star Lounger
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    I probably didn't accurately describe the requirements.

    Joe, I understand I can create a "private" group email list using Outlook but what I need is a public email address that 40 something households can use to broadcast alerts and information to everyone that is subscribed to the list. I was able to do that prior with the MS Live Groups. That email address looked something like this; MyGroupName@Groups.Live.com. I'm not sure what Microsoft is doing with their Groups function but they won't let you create any new groups and I've had some of my membership just vanish in thin air. You can say "I'm done with Microsoft's Groups". Anyway, I'm digressing. I've looked at Google groups a little closer this morning and I'm thinking that setting up an email list group with them will get the job done. I think I'll sign up and run some tests. I'm still open for suggestions though. Thanks!
    Last edited by Bender; 2014-07-09 at 09:51. Reason: Addl info
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  7. #6
    Star Lounger
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    Ok, I think I've resolved my own problem. I created a Google group and was able to directly add all the email addresses for my members. An automatic email was sent out to the membership advising them of their new group membership. I set their subscription type as "Email" which means they will receive every message that is posted to the group. Secondly, no one is forced to become a Google member unless they want to access some of the web features of the group. We have a "public" group email address that each member can use to broadcast a message to the other members. All the messages are logged which is good for me because occasionally I have someone ask me about something that happened a couple of years ago.

    It wasn't made clear and I'm still learning about the Google Groups feature but I understand that only 100 members can belong to a group, that is unless you want to pay a fee. The other little nuisance thing is in the member listing. Unless you have a Google email address, each name is listed by the email address and not a user name. This gets annoying when someone has a cryptic email address and you have to remember who they are. Other than that I think we're good to go.

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.
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    bonalba (2014-07-17)

  9. #7
    New Lounger
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    Coming late to this thread, good choice! I am a neighbourhood watch coordinator with 45 e-mail connected members and have been using a private Google group as the communication mechanism and online archive for messages from start up 15 months ago. Works very well with a little user guidance on sensible e-mail protocol. I use a virtual user as the group owner for ease of switching to another real coordinator.

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    Bender (2014-07-17)

  11. #8
    New Lounger
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    I belong to three Yahoo groups -- two recycling and a Sunfish group. These are public, large and without fees. I imagine they work very similar to Google Groups. I send an email to the group and all receive it based on their settings: daily summary or individual email for example. There is a database of members. The group administrator controls membership. For example in the Sunfish group Kent watches what new members want to post to see if they are spammers before allowing their messages to be posted. I think you found a very good solution.

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    Bender (2014-07-17)

  13. #9
    Star Lounger
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    timmscot, One of the things that I liked about OneDrive when I was using it, was that I could store pictures and other documents for access by the members that elected to have a Windows Live account. I don't see Google Groups having that type of function. In your group management do you use any sort of online storage for access by your members?
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  14. #10
    New Lounger
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    Have you looked at Yahoo groups. You can share pictures and documents. Any group member can send a message to the group from their listed email address without logging into Yahoo. I believe that you cannot add people who do not have Yahoo membership. Check it out. I believe that to join the group they have to have a Yahoo id, but they don't need a Yahoo email and can list any email of their choice.

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    Thanks for the response rtanenbaum. No, I didn't look at Yahoo but I was aware that they had a groups feature. One of my criteria is that no one in my group should be forced to sign up for anything. Optionally, if they want to get a Yahoo or Google account then that's up to them, but I don't want to force anyone to do that. Why you might ask? I have some stubborn folks, mostly elderly, that out and out absolutely refuse to join anything out of fear for their privacy. It's mostly what they've heard on the news and nothing else based on reality. So I got to deal with that mentality. I would much prefer that they participate and receive our alerts and news broadcasts vs. slamming the door shut and not participating at all. So far the Google thing is working pretty good and I've got everyone moved over to it. At this point, I can't swap horses in mid-stream as they say.
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    2 Star Lounger bmeacham's Avatar
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    You don't have to have an @yahoo.com address to be in a Yahoo group, although if you do you get additional functionality. Yahoo groups can store files, such as photos and documents.
    Bill Meacham
    bmeacham98 AT yahoo.com

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    Google Groups is a good choice. It should be noted that it depends on how its configured. I'm a member of a group that is distributed only by the Admin. Yahoo Groups I used to recommend as it was more full featured. You can share photos and files for example. However, Yahoo dumbed it down with the Neo update last year and removed several features we used. Its much more cludgy to use now. Still has more functionality than Google but for a basic email distribution, Google would be fine.

    It would not be hard to post a file on Box or Dropbox, etc and share the link to the group.

    It should be noted that for either group, they would not be able to access files, change settings or otherwise do things that require a login unless they had a Google or Yahoo account that is associated. But in this case, the administrator can manage it so it's not required. I suspect a virtual account has been created for each user but would not be activated. They probably got an email invite to do so.

    I'm a member of several Yahoo Groups and required a signup back in the day. That is now inherently also an email account but it wasn't originally and I've never used it. Not personally a big fan of all the services integration as its been done unilaterally and to manage users.

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    Bender (2014-07-17)

  20. #14
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    I've been using GoogleGroups for many years and have 10 or more of them. The system works fine for me. When you are doing a direct add of new members, you can add people's names or nicknames by adding them in this format: John Doe <j.doe@ipcompany.com>.

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  22. #15
    New Lounger
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    To get Google Groups to list members by name, when you do the Direct Add, enter the address like this: "last name, first name" <email address.com> Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to edit the member name once it's there. So, I've had to delete the existing member, then re-add them.

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