There are several options for sending email from your ChurchTrac account. Administrators can access the Bulk Email Settings window by clicking:
Settings Admin Settings Bulk Email Settings
The selected options will apply to any user who sends email from your ChurchTrac account.
ChurchTrac Mail is a zero-configuration email tool that’s ready to go out of the box. Finally, an easy way to email your whole church that doesn't require configuring SMTPs, ports, domains, and all that other stuff! You can email a single person, a Smart List of people, a group of people with a specific Tag, or your entire church.
If you have a Mailchimp account, ChurchTrac gives you the ability to export names and email addresses from your ChurchTrac account to Mailchimp as contacts in an Audience. This allows you to manage and update your MailChimp contacts from your ChurchTrac account. Mailchimp offers a free service tier for up to 2,000 contacts, which should work great for most small or medium size churches, although it only limits you to one Audience.
Amazon SES (or Simple Email Service) is a low-cost solution that we recommend for churches sending over 10k emails/month. In order to send email through Amazon SES, you'll need to create an account and validate your domain name. Additionally, you'll probably want to update your domain's DNS records to "sign" the messages from Amazon SES, which helps to increase the deliverability rate (unsigned messages will likely not be delivered, or delivered to the recipient's spam folder).
Though SMTP is an available option for email sending, we no longer offer support for this sending method due to its poor deliverability and complexity for troubleshooting. ChurchTrac Mail is the better (and more simple) alternative for sending emails to your people.
Unfortunately NO. By today's standards, bulk email is when there are more than just a few recipients. Because email has become so abused by spammers, sending bulk messages from a free service eventually gets you "blacklisted" with most email providers.
Many free email providers, including Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail, allow you to send a message (usually only through their web-based interfaces) to one (or just a few) recipients. These free services were never designed for sending bulk emails. When you do send from these free services to multiple recipients, you'll usually get delivered directly to the recipient's spam folder, or not delivered at all--or worse, you'll have your email account suspended for abuse-- even if your email was legit (sometimes it only takes one complaint from a recipient). Additionally, many countries have laws that govern who you can send "bulk" email to, plus steps that have to be followed to stay within the law.
ChurchTrac Mail is the most cost-effective way to email your church/ministry. It's included with your paid ChurchTrac Subscription at no additional cost.
The ChurchTrac+Mailchimp integration enables you to export your email contacts from ChurchTrac to Mailchimp. All email creation and sending is done through your Mailchimp account.