Chainlinks mailouts

Chainlinks mailouts


This page describes how Chainlinks mailouts are carried out.

Chainlinks distribution

CAN's Chainlinks magazine is distributed to financial members (plus a few other key people) three times a year.

It was distributed by post in hard copy, as well as electronically, until 2014. Now it is just sent electronically, as either a link to a download page on the CAN website, or directly as a PDF email attachment (a few people prefer that to the download link).

Chainlinks numbers

This is no longer necessary, since the demise of printed Chainlinks. Before Chainlinks went to the printers, the Chainlinks editor checked with the membership secretary as to how many hard copies would be required.

To work out how many copies will be needed, you needed to export a spreadsheet with the numbers from CiviCRM and add them up.  Under the CiviCRM Search menu, click Find Contacts. In the Groups box, choose Chainlinks distribution CAN administered, and hit the Search button. (Don't use the 'Chainlinks distribution' group- this includes self-administered groups like Cycle Aware Wellington, who send Chainlinks out to their own members.)

This brings up a list of contacts who need to be sent Chainlinks directly.  Choose 'All records' and 'Export contacts' from the actions box.  At the next screen, choose 'Select fields for export' and select the 'Chainlinks numbers' field mapping.  (This just means that only the contact data relevant for the Chainlinks mailout will be exported.)  Click Continue, and then Export.  Save the exported CSV file to your computer and open it in a spreadsheet program.  Adding up the numbers in the 'Post Chainlinks' column gives the required number to post out.

Some additional copies needed to be added to this number, though:

  • First, there were the copies needed by self-administered groups like Cycle Aware Wellington.  To work these out you can follow the same procedure as above, but instead of using the 'Chainlinks distribution CAN administered' group, use e.g. the 'Cycle Aware Wellington Members' group.
  • Second, there were copies needed by other self-administered groups not using CiviCRM (actually there are none of these any more, since Cycle Action Auckland are no longer distributing Chainlinks).  You will need to be in contact with them by email and ask them directly.  If you can't get numbers from them in time for the mailout, you may need to assume the same numbers for them as for the previous mailout.
  • Extra copies for new members who might sign up before the next issue of Chainlinks comes out.  Usually allowed about 30 copies for this.
  • Extra copies for the CAN office in Wellington.  Usually allowed 25 copies.
  • Add a few spare for contingencies and mistakes- usually 20.

Added these all up and sent to the Chainlinks editor, along with up-to-date addresses to which copies for the self-administered groups and CAN office should be sent.

Making address labels for Chainlinks

Again, not needed any more since we don't print Chainlinks. You can make address labels for the Chainlinks mailout using the Chainlinks distribution CAN administered group in CiviCRM.

Under the CiviCRM Search menu, click Find Contacts. In the Groups box, choose Chainlinks distribution CAN administered, and hit the Search button. (Don't use the 'Chainlinks distribution' group- this includes self-administered groups like Cycle Aware Wellington.)

This will bring up a list of all contacts to be sent Chainlinks. Click All records at the top, and choose Mailing Labels from the Actions box.

Click the Go button and choose the mailing label type. We usually use L7160 labels.

Click Make mailing labels. This will produce a PDF file of the labels which you can save and email to the mailouts coordinator. It is worth having a quick look through the PDF before you send it, to make sure everything looks OK- no contacts with blank addresses etc. If there are any problems you may need to edit details for any problem contacts and re-generate the labels.

Membership renewals

Membership renewal letters and emails used to be sent out with the Chainlinks mailout- details here. Now, reminder emails are sent out, with a follow-up hard copy letter if the member hasn't responded to the email.

Electronic Chainlinks distribution

The electronic (PDF) version is distributed to members via email.  Most members get an email with a web link they can use to download Chainlinks from the CAN website.  A few prefer to have it sent directly as an email attachment.

The Chainlinks editor will email you the download link for the latest Chainlinks when it's been uploaded.  First, go to that link and download the PDF yourself so you can send it as an attachment.  It also pays to open the PDF and have a quick check through it before sending out.

To distribute the electronic version, set up two CiviMail mailings, one for link and one for PDF attachment.  There are CiviCRM groups set up for these two mailings: 'e-Chainlinks link' and 'e-Chainlinks PDF'.  There are also message templates for the two mailings, 'Chainlinks link' and 'Chainlinks PDF'.  You just need to alter the dates on these and the download link (on both the HTML and plain text versions), and the file size, and attach the PDF to the 'Chainlinks PDF' mailing.

Finally, email the download link to any self-administering local groups, so they can distribute to their members.