There are several forms of communication you can access in UCare. While these have been covered briefly in previous parts, we will walk you through them in greater detail. UCare offers Email and SMS options to keep your people informed and updated and can also be automated through Forms and Processes. Emails are customizable and allow numerous Templates for unique users or events. UCare can also sync with MailChimp, which we will cover in this Part.
Communication in UCare is simple using the Email function. Whether you need to send bulk email messages to the congregation or simple reminders to your teams, it can all be navigated seamlessly. If you wish to create a new email message, click + New and then Email. Alternatively, you can create new email messages from the People, Household, Groups, Meetings and Events pages directly by clicking the email icon in the top right corner:
You can also send Emails to Groups, Meetings, Teams, etc., using the Email button in the top right:
This will open a New Email where you can specify the recipient/s, upload attachments and select a template:
Once an Email has been drafted or sent, you can view it by clicking Email on the navbar:
All emails sent will be listed with the most recent at the top.
If you clear your name from the By field, it will list all sent email messages. You can open any email from this list and reuse it like an email message template; just update the recipients, make any other minor changes, and click send. If you check the boxes to the left of messages, you’ll get the Actions menu, which gives you the option to Delete all the selected messages.
Setting up a mailing list in UCare is simple. To do so, create a Group of people you would like to communicate with. Edit the group and click More details:
From there, you will see a toggle that will allow you to make the Group a mailing list:
Mailing lists allow people to unsubscribe from emails sent to that Group.
UCare allows you to create multiple email templates should you require various header and footer options, links, signatures, etc. You can tailor these templates to your needs, from general ministry-related or church-staff emails to newsletters and event information. Whatever the occasion, UCare provides a blank slate for you to customize.
As we provide you with a blank canvas, it does require some knowledge of the HTML format. If you need help with this, you can contact UCare Support. Alternatively, if you use email template software, you can use the HTML code from these templates in UCare.
To access Email Templates, click the dropdown arrow next to the User profile name and select Settings:
From the Settings tab, Click Email Templates:
Available templates will be displayed here. To add a new template, click the + Add template button. When you add a template, you can name it and insert the HTML code in the template section:
Once you have completed this, click Save to start using your new template.
To use a template, create a + New Email and select the template name from the dropdown.
If you have a Mailchimp account and prefer to keep using it, UCare allows you to Sync your Mailchimp account. This can be done easily using the Sync center:
From there, click View sync options under Mailchimp:
If it is the first time doing this, you will need to log in to MailChimp using the Connect with Mailchimp button:
If you have already connected to Mailchimp, UCare will list the Groups Synced to Mailchimp.
Each group added here will be kept in sync with an audience in Mailchimp. When a person is added to a synced group, UCare will add them to the corresponding Mailchimp audience and Mailchimp group. If a group member changes their name or email, the corresponding Mailchimp contact will be updated.
When a person is removed from a group, UCare will remove them from the Mailchimp group but not the Mailchimp audience. Because Mailchimp audiences may be synced with other systems, UCare doesn’t remove people from Mailchimp audiences. Updates also come from Mailchimp; if contacts in the corresponding audience in Mailchimp are updated, UCare will reflect those updates within a minute.
Because of some limitations in Mailchimp, UCare can only sync regular groups (i.e. not search groups). To work around this limitation, create a regular group, add all the people from the search group as members, and sync the new group to Mailchimp.
When adding a group to Sync Center, members are added to Mailchimp, but Mailchimp contacts are not imported into UCare. Select all contacts in the Mailchimp Audience to import Mailchimp contacts, then tap Actions > Add to a group > [UCare Group Name]. After a minute, the contacts will begin syncing into UCare.
UCare offers two methods for sending SMS. You can send SMS using your mobile phone, which uses the credit associated with a phone plan, or over the web using the third-party Clickatell SMS service.
When using the UCare app on an iPhone or Android, UCare will send messages using your phone’s SMS app. This uses the phone credits included with your phone plan, so there are no additional costs. When sending messages using your phone, SMS networks cap the maximum number of recipients between 16 and 32. If you’re using an iPhone, the Messages app will try to send messages as an iMessage, meaning recipients will see each other’s phone number and “reply all”. To avoid this, open the Settings app, go to SMS settings, and turn off iMessage.
Before you can send SMS through UCare, you must request the SMS service to be enabled. We need to register your church before you can send an SMS. Also, please keep in mind that sending SMS messages does incur a cost.
You can register for a named Sender ID (e.g., MyChurch); this will make it easy for people to recognize where a message is from, though they won’t be able to reply to those messages. If you have a Clickatell Americas account, this will be the number assigned to you when you registered for the service.
Using the Clickatell service requires the SMS service to be activated in SMS Settings;
Your church will need to purchase credit with the third-party service. After you are granted SMS permission, Clickatell will send a verification code to your phone the next time you sign in. Enter this code in UCare settings to confirm that you own the mobile number listed in your access.
By default, messages are sent from the mobile number registered when your UCare account was created. You can change this number by changing your access. Once your SMS service is activated, SMS can be sent in UCare from an individual profile, group or team page using the button in the top right:
From there, you can type your message and click Send when ready to send.
If a Sender ID is set under SMS settings, it will also be available as a From option. Note that the Sender ID needs to be registered and approved with Clickatell before you can use it.
By default, the max length of messages is 160 for normal characters or 70 for non-Latin/Unicode characters. If you want to send longer messages, you can change this in SMS Settings.
In the next Part, we will look at how to set up an Event.