Some years ago, it was popular to create role-based email addresses at companies and non-profits, addresses like info[at]yourparishname.org or admin[at]yourparishname.org. However, since these sorts of addresses are commonly shared between several employees and sometimes fall into disuse, Internet users are moving back into the other direction: john[at]yourparishname.org, frtim[at]yourparishname.org, and so on. For your parish, that means it’s time to eliminate role-based email addresses. Here are a few reasons why that’s happening:

  • Role-based email addresses look spammy: admin@ or info@ addresses are sometimes used by scammers to appear legitimate to unsuspecting Internet users, so savvy parishioners will treat them as such.
  • They are impersonal: On an unconscious level, people are less likely to open or respond to an email from a role-based address. For example, if you have someone in your neighborhood interested in joining the Catholic Church, is she really going to write to info[at]yourparishname.org? Or will she write to stacey[at]yourparishname.org?
  • They have lower open rates: If you’re sending out an e-newsletter from a role-based address, it will get a lower open rate than one sent by frtim[at]yourparishname.org, even if people know Father Tim doesn’t check that address personally, or that it forwards to his actual email address.
  • Lots of internet-based services will block them automatically: Because role-based emails can’t easily be traced to an actual person, services like Mailchimp or Gmail won’t accept them automatically. This means that more of your emails are stuck in people’s spam filters or you cannot easily access powerful tools you need to do your job.

If you bring this up at your next staff meeting, there may be pushback. The most common objection is that role-based emails help during staff turnover. Here is why that’s not exactly true:

  • You can always forward: For the next 12 months, have Kim’s address forward to Stacey’s address. Simple.
  • It lets you make introductions: “Kim is no longer the youth minister. We have brought Stacey onto our team instead! Here’s her biography! Here’s her email!”
  • You’re incentivized to clean up: Once Kim leaves, forward or archive relevant messages and move on. That’s a much more elegant solution than a decades-old comms[at]yourparishname.org account.

So, eliminate role-based email addresses and you’ll be better serving your community!