Everything You Need to Know About Nonprofit Email Hosting
As the main channel of communication for most nonprofit organizations, your email address often ends up being the most recognizable representative of your brand. For this reason, and because the competition for getting your emails read is steep, having a custom nonprofit email address is fast becoming a necessity in the digital age.
However, trying to make sense of industry terms like "email hosting", "interserver", and "bandwidth" can feel a bit overwhelming. To help you get properly oriented, we have broken down the basics of email hosting in layman's terms. Here is everything you need to know to get started!
- What is Email Hosting?
- Why Use Email Hosting?
- Web-Hosted Email
- Cloud-Hosted Email
- The Problems With Email Migration
What is Email Hosting?
In the simplest terms, email hosting is a service that allows your company to customize your own email address. For example, Habitat for Humanity email addresses ends in "habitat.org." Customization typically comes hand in hand with a web-hosting service, but it can be set up separately as well. Hence, the two email hosting options that exist are:
We will get into more detail about both of these alternatives in a little bit. First, let’s discuss the benefits of email hosting, and why it can be a real advantage for your organization.
David is ready to learn about email hosting!
Why Use Email Hosting?
For nonprofits, email is typically the main channel of communication between staff and their stakeholders. It is essentially the face of your organization, and as such requires the professionalism of a personalized address. When you send out materials like your nonprofit newsletter, you want recipients to know where it is coming from by the email address itself.
The best way to do this is to have your own email host. Then you can have multiple email addresses that end with your organization's name. For example, instead of using the email address email@example.com, you would use firstname.lastname@example.org. The first email address could belong to anybody (and therefore may not be opened by a cautious recipient). The second address clearly demonstrates a link to an established organization and will be more trusted.
Web-hosted email accounts offer you the ability to host both your website and your email with the same company. This is an ideal situation for a new nonprofit who are in the process of setting up their organization online. The domain name that you choose for your website will be the customized ending you receive for your email, keeping things consistent and easy to recognize for users.
Top Web Hosting Services for Nonprofits
There are a number of excellent web hosting services available for nonprofits who want custom email addresses. Some of the best web hosts for nonprofits on the market include the following:
Many hosts offer free nonprofit websites and free domain names for qualifying organizations. Others offer several levels in cost so that you can find a price that works for your association. Keep in mind that the higher-level plans offer more advanced features than the free or basic versions. However, all of the options offer templates to create a visually interesting site in addition to free email hosting.
Cloud-hosted email is a service that offers email tools and offers you access to them over the internet. It includes everything you need to send, receive, and store messages, but also offers more advanced features like maintenance, technology, and security. These add-ons may be in the form of spam filtering or two-step verification.
There are several benefits to cloud-hosted email over web-hosted email. Some of these include:
More cost-effective than an in-house email server
The convenience of access to your messages from anywhere, via any connected device
It scales with your company so that as your organization, and its email requirements increase, your nonprofit does not need to investigate additional data centers
Large email providers make security their top priority; with the most modern technology in place, your data is safer with a cloud-based company than your own server
A cloud-based hosting provider platform has a built-in backup so that if your server dies or becomes infected with a virus, everything will be quickly recovered and you will not lose your data
Sadie is loving the idea of cloud-hosted email!
Your two best options for cloud email hosting services are Google G-Suite, or Microsoft 365. Both of these companies offer their services for free to most nonprofits. However, some restrictions do apply. The eligibility standards include the following:
The organization must be a non-governmental or nonprofit organization that meets legal standards in their respective country equal to the 501(3) status of the United States Internal Revenue code
Must be registered by an employee or strategic volunteer of the nonprofit
Must have a mission to benefit the local community
Organizations may not participate if they have a policy of discrimination for hiring, promotion, compensation, termination, programs, or activities and services based on color, race, sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, disability, marital status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, pregnancy, union status, political affiliation, or veteran status
Pro Tip: If you choose a service with a web host provider outside of Google or Microsoft, like SiteGround, DreamHost, iPage, Mailchimp, a2, Bluehost, InMotion, InterServer, or HostGator, ensure you ask if they offer a nonprofit discount!
The Problems With Email Migration
For any organization that is looking to migrate services from a web to a cloud-hosted email or vice versa, it is important to understand that email migration is not always a simple task. Here are some things that you should take into account before getting started.
Decide whether you want to do migrate all data at once or take an extended period approach; the former is more cost-effective, while the latter allows for greater problem resolution
Allow enough time to perform a pilot migration to help identify any issues you may not have anticipated
Keep all stakeholders informed on what is happening during the project, including the timeline and how and when everyone will be affected
Offer a FAQ and training on the new system to acclimate staff on any new features and ensure everyone will have a good idea of what to expect
Nonprofit email marketing is one of the most important ways to generate revenue and boost your membership and donor list. As such, it is important to do all you can to ensure that it looks as professional as possible. In the same way that personalizing your stationary and envelopes for your nonprofit direct mail adds a feeling of credibility, a personalized email address shows that you are an established organization that can be trusted. The materials you send to your stakeholders are important. Increase the number of opened emails by investing in email services for nonprofits.
Springly is trusted by over 20,000 nonprofits to help them run their organizations on a daily basis. Try it, test it, love it with a 14-day free trial!