Choosing the Right Email Solution for Your Church

10/05/2024

Here’s a guide to help you navigate these issues and find a secure, efficient email solution for your church.

If you’re part of a small church, you might be facing challenges with email security and delivery, especially when using free services like Gmail. Here’s a guide to help you navigate these issues and find a secure, efficient email solution for your church. 

Challenges With Email Accounts  

Security Concerns: 
Free email providers like Gmail don’t always offer the robust security needed for sensitive church communications. Emails might be more susceptible to hacking if they lack advanced security features. 

Delivery Issues: 
Sending emails to large groups can often result in emails being blocked or marked as spam. This is especially common with free services due to their limitations on bulk emails. 

Understanding Secure Email Solutions 

Set up Office 365 with Your Own Domain 

Benefits: 

  • Office 365 offers multi-factor authentication, making it harder for hackers to access your account. 
  • Emails from a custom domain (like yourchurch.org) appear more trustworthy and professional. 
  • Compliance: Office 365 complies with GDPR, ensuring your data is stored securely within Europe. 

Drawbacks: 

  • Cost: Microsoft offers free accounts to nonprofit organisations, but if you require more than ten users, there is a cost per user (albeit reduced compared to their usual pricing).
  • Setup Complexity: It might require some technical know-how to set up initially. 

Why Not Use Mailchimp? 

Pros: 

Great for Newsletters: Mailchimp is excellent for sending out newsletters and managing email campaigns. 

User-Friendly: It has an intuitive interface, making it easy for beginners to use. 

Cons: 

Data Compliance Issues: Mailchimp’s servers are based in the US, which can conflict with GDPR rules regarding personal data storage. 

Want a fully GDPR-compliant email platform?

Read our recent blog about how you can switch from Mailchimp to Brevo, an email platform that is fully GDPR-compliant

 

Step-by-Step Guide: Setting Up Office 365 with a Custom Domain 

Step 1: Purchase a Domain 

  • Choose a Domain Registrar: Popular options include GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Google Domains (which has now been acquired by Squarespace domains). 
  • Search for Your Domain: Use the registrar’s search tool to find an available domain that suits your church (e.g., yourchurchname.org). 
  • Complete the Purchase: Follow the registrar’s checkout process to buy the domain. 

Step 2: Set Up Office 365 

  • Apply for an Office365 grant: Non-profit organisations are eligible for an account that is free for the first ten users and has discounted pricing for additional users. Get started by searching for 'Microsoft 365 for nonprofits'. and following the steps to apply.
  • Verify Your Domain: During setup, you’ll be prompted to verify your domain. This typically involves adding a TXT record to your domain’s DNS settings, which you can do through your domain registrar’s control panel. 
  • Create Email Accounts: Once your domain is verified, you can create email accounts (e.g., [email protected]). 

Step 3: Enable Multi-Factor Authentication 

  • Log in to your Office 365 admin account and go to the admin centre. 
  • Click on “Active users” and select the user accounts you want to secure. 
  • Follow the prompts to turn on multi-factor authentication for each user. 

Switching to a secure email solution like Office 365 with your own domain can significantly enhance your church’s communication security and professionalism. While there are some costs and initial setup efforts involved, the long-term benefits of improved security and compliance with data protection regulations make it a worthwhile investment. By following these steps, you’ll ensure that your church’s communications are safe, reliable, and effective, helping you to better serve your community. 

- Digital Team