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Newsletter #5
March, 21 2011

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Dear BVCMS Community,

This newsletter contains tips, information about new features, and announcments of upcoming events. See past newsletters.

News for Potential Clients

Where's the price tag?

There are a ton of you who have signed up to use the Demo site but have not yet requested any additional information from us. We are not salesmen. There will be no high pressure sales pitch from us. But we do want to keep you informed and we do love our product.

Some of you may have seen our original Pricing Plan for Hosting and Support. On February 23, 2011 we introduced our New Pricing Plan. We think you are really going to like what you see. We have made it even more affordable to take advantage of BVCMS. Not only are the prices lower, there is a much smoother progression between a small church and a larger church. No more big jumps between 100, 500 and 1000. Everybody gets a better deal. Just go to to request our pricing plan. You won't get a call from us; we will simply send you the plan via email. It will be up to you whether you take the next step of scheduling an initial conference call with us.

Just Looking...

Speaking of initial conference calls, we have done a bunch of them. We started recording them and just kept on recording them until we found one that we felt was good enough for publishing. Turns out, it was a really long one, about two hours! So we have divided it up into various sections and you can watch those here:

User News & Announcements

To keep you up-to-date, here are the latest news items and announcements from BVCMS.

Quick and Easy Attendee Query for a Meeting

Do you ever want to send an email to all those who attended an event – whether it's a small Life Group class or a very large conference? Maybe you want to thank them for coming. Or maybe send them the notes from the class.

Whatever the reason, sometimes you just need a real quick way to communicate with just those who attended (both Members of the class as well as Visitors)…but not necessarily everyone enrolled in the class.

Contact your Contactors

Everyone likes to be appreciated and to know that someone has thought of them. You know how vital it is to contact your guests/visitors/prospects/absent members and how much they appreciate a phone call or a visit.

Well, have you thought about encouraging those staff members and lay leaders who are making those Contacts? Not only are they taking the time to make a personal visit to a perfect stranger or pick up the phone and talk to someone, they are going that little extra step and recording those as Contacts in BVMCS. That is such an important step! BVCMS is all about people, and knowing what’s been done as follow-up with prospects or absent members is absolutely critical to effective church growth!

So, why not send a Thank You email each week (or month) to everyone who has recorded that they have made a Personal Visit or a Phone Call? We’ve given you a new tool to help you do this!

Manage Emails

Those of you who send emails through BVCMS (and there are a TON of you!) will have noticed that your Sent Email confirmation looks a little different now. Instead of it just containing the list of your recipients, there is a link that shows the number of emails sent. Clicking the link will take you to an email management page with a lot more information regarding your emails.

Another Tool for Tracking Emails

Is it just me? Or do you also sometimes wonder if people out there in cyberspace are actually reading those pretty emails you sent them. Or if they even open them? Well, if you do, you will be very excited about this latest feature. It is a tool designed to be used by those of you who are sending large, targeted emails - such as newsletters - and want to be able to see if you are reaching your audience. If your email has an image in it, you can include a special code in your email that will be invisible to your readers.

Admin Corner

Developer News

Mass Emails and Amazon

For those of you being hosted on, I have been working a lot to move our email sending agent from Bellevue to Amazon's Simple Email Service. You can read about their service here This is the same service that a lot of the big email newsletter services use. With this service, we will be able to do a much better job of dealing with bounced emails, and managing good clean lists of current email addresses. Of course, one of the big problems with email is spam. Amazon does not want their service to be used for spam and they have made it difficult for any new user of their service to "prove" themselves worthy of their email service. I think that is a good thing. But it means that we have to earn that reputation of being a good citizen in this realm.

They won't let us start sending 30,000 emails a day; they have a ramp up process. In fact the limit starting out is 1,000 per 24 hour period. Furthermore they allow you to send no more than one email per second. Once you start pushing their initial limits for several days with good content, they start to increase your limits. This sounds great but it turns out to be a big challenge programming a robust scheme to obey these rules. It feels like a game and I think I have been losing so far! Basically, I need to funnel all emails from all 40 somthing churches through a single service that decides whether any given email can go through Amazon or through our existing service. Furthermore, we have to have a way for priority transactional emails to go straight to the top of the list!

Anyway, after a few hiccups, we have finally got the kinks worked out. Some of you may have noticed these kinks last week when we had some late deliveries and sometimes multiple deliveries. I sincerely apologize for that.

Nights and Weekends

Folks, this has been a very busy time for us. Our schedule has been full of initial conference calls and training sessions with new churches signing up for BVCMS! People ask me if this has been hurting development. Actually, that Amazon project has been hurting my progress! (see above). Kidding aside, we have been talking to churches during the day and I have been programming nights and weekends. I need a haircut and more exercise and maybe a vacation. But I am so excited about BVCMS and the potential it has for hundreds of churches and its potential impact for the Kingdom of Christ.

David Carroll
BVCMS Developer

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