Many of our clients still use their personal email to conduct most of their business, which is understandable, especially as things grow organically, or you have a preference for a particular system, eg. Gmail. It just seems to work, and is still ok for one person orgnanisations.
However now with GDPR (and arguably before), there’s a need to ensure that if someone asks you what data you have on them you can report on that data, and delete it in whole or in part if requested. But if it’s in an email account you don’t control … how can you?
Thankfully in many cases, if you have a website then you likely already have the option for professional email provision. For example with our hosting partner company Tortilla Hosting you get an unlimited number of 1Gb email addresses with the standard Unlimited Shared Hosting.
Of course you may need more than this, and pretty much all providers will allow you to increase the size of an email mailbox for a fee, though don’t forget to take the time to reduce the number of emails you have (see below).
Maybe ‘keep’ your setup?
Google has a professional version of Gmail called G Suite (used to be called Google Apps), and likewise Microsoft offers Office 365, which includes email. Both are actually way more than email accounts, but that’s the usual starting points.
Basically you manage a number of email address @yourwebsiteaddress.com and can add/remove them centrally. Or in other words the data is in the control of the organisation. If someone leaves you can remove their email/ change their password/ hand over to another, etc.
For UK Charities this can be free:
- Google for non-profits (note: the application process takes a while)
- Microsoft Office 365 (also an application process for a donation)
Business can also get these, though the cost is signfiicantly higher, and maybe is worth asking ‘do I really want those extra features, or is my hosting provider’s setup ok’? Note: most ‘professional email’ is designed for use through email programs, not website like gmail.com or yahoo so there might be a bit of adjustment.
Getting Email Switched
So it’s less a question of being able to create the email accounts, but more about getting people to convert to using the new ones you’ve created. For the most part this is relatively simple, though trickier if people have been using their personal emails for business/charity use.
As a starting point, you can setup pretty much all email in an email program (eg. Outlook, Mac Mail) or on a phone. And while email will still come into one account, always reply from the right one, and slowly they’ll change over. Also send all new email from the right one.
If you can, the ‘old’ email can forward all incoming email to the new email account, so that although people might still email the old addresses, they’ll get the email through to the right ones. You can also setup an auto-responder telling them ‘this email address is no longer in use, please use this new one’.
And of course, you can tell people, but rememebr no matter how many times you tell them the easiest thing to do is just to reply to the last email they got from you, so make that come from the right address.
Deleting Emails/ Accounts
If you’ve been around for a while, there’s a good chance you have some email accounts which aren’t needed anymore, or could be rationalised. For example the email account of someone who did some work for you a couple years ago and you just forgot to get rid of the account.
Pause a minute before hitting DELETE as there’s a good chance they signed up for something important on that email account, so have a good look through first. It might be helpful to ‘sort by sender’ to realise that their email was the one used to sign up for the accounting package/ social media platform/ etc.
You do have a duty to keep some emails, speicifcially those which are a contract agreement/ receipt/ invoice/ form part of what could be clearly a business decision (just like you would paper). But you don’t need to keep the 100s of notification emails, newsletters, etc – learn to love your delete key!