Nonprofit use: Good for simple stuff
December 29, 2014

Nonprofit use: Good for simple stuff

Anna Hazel Crotty | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Pay as You Go

Overall Satisfaction with MailChimp

In my role at Mission Edge, I've worked with several organizations using MailChimp, and I sometimes recommend it. All these organizations are nonprofits, of varying size. I don't recommend it for much segmenting, but it can be a decent tool to get the same message out to all your constituents.
  • Perfectly reasonable WYSIWYG editor
  • RSS Campaigns are unmatched in this price range. Great tool, super useful. Other services offering this feature can cost 2-10x as much.
  • Cheap
  • If you want to do simple stuff, it is simple to use.
  • If you want to do complicated stuff, you'll be frustrated. This is a mass-market product.
  • Salesforce connector can be pretty frustrating.
  • Segmentation isn't very practical. Pricing is per list, which is great. You can segment by groups, which is great in theory. Unfortunately, it makes it difficult for recipients to manage their subscriptions easily -- they may think they've unsubscribed to one group, but they've actually unsubscribed to all.
  • If they shut down your campaign, they don't email you or alert you in any way.
  • I've gotten a lot of reports from users who say they aren't receiving the emails. (As it happens, we use it at one organization where users call at 8:00am if they haven't received the 6:00am email. Not a common MailChimp experience, I'm guessing.) We look in MailChimp, and it says they opened the email 10 minutes ago. If I'd gotten this report from one or two people, I'd chalk it up to people being stupid. We've gotten dozens of these, some from people who we know personally are quite bright. This makes me think two things: one, the open information is definitely faulty, I just don't know how faulty. Two, the emails are being caught in spam filters somewhere along the way, despite our best efforts to stay out of them. We have absolutely no interest in sending emails to people who don't want them. MailChimp support can't help on this issue.
  • We regularly have people complain that they haven't gotten our mails, only to discover they've been unsubscribed from MailChimp. Again, this is dozens of reports, and some of them are telling the truth that they didn't unsubscribe. MailChimp says that the only way someone could be unsubscribed without their knowledge is for a reader to forward their email to someone else who then clicks the unsubscribe button. I don't think that happens often enough to account for the number of people who report this problem to us. I don't pretend to know what is happening, but it is definitely frustrating.
  • MailChimp keeps track of email addresses that have bounced before (because it will shut down your account if you try to import too many of them at a time) but it won't just gracefully refuse to email them.
  • MailChimp's RSS Campaign feature has saved our client a lot of time -- it allows writers to post their work to the website and have MailChimp send it out automatically -- no writers logged in to MailChimp! This is a huge thing, and the reason they stick with MC despite the issues.
  • Vertical Response,Constant Contact
For price-sensitive nonprofits with relatively simple needs, MailChimp is a reasonable choice. I tell people to simply decide which editor they like best and use that tool. Most people who use an email marketing tool spend most of their time in the editor, and so that's the big decision. Vertical Response, Constant Contact, and MailChimp are all pretty inexpensive, although they all price differently, so for some organizations one is much cheaper than the others. (CC and MC price based on the list size, VR on the number of emails you send out.)
The exception is the RSS campaign. If you need that functionality and don't want to pay $10K/year and up, you're stuck with MailChimp.

Despite all my frustration, I don't have any other good options without spending a lot more money. I do understand that Predictive Response has RSS campaign functionality in development. We use that tool (which is really in a different category) for marketing automation, and it works beautifully. If PR releases the RSS functionality, we'll try it immediately, and might switch. It would be more expensive, but probably worth it.
For the clients we work with who have simple needs, there's no reason to switch away from MailChimp unless the staff get frustrated with the editor.
MailChimp is appropriate for single list, simple use, or for those who are very price sensitive and send more than 10K emails/month. (If you're a nonprofit that sends fewer than that, you can use Vertical Response for free.) It is less appropriate if you plan to do a lot of segmentation, link to a CRM, or if your constituents are intent on receiving all of your emails.