Automatically respond to “New prospective member for your club” emails

Whenever you get one of these emails, courtesy of the Find a Club tool on toastmasters.org —

— you can automatically reply with a message like this:

The Find a Club Autoresponder, a feature of the toastmost.org service, was developed for Online Presenters because of the large volume of these inquiries we were getting (a good problem to have). It’s now available for use by other clubs with websites on toastmost.org. If you want to use it on a site independent of toastmost.org, contact me for instructions.

For Online Presenters, the idea is to encourage people to come to our website where they can learn more about the club and register to attend as a guest. Although the club details page includes a “Visit This Website” link, it’s much less prominent than the Contact Club button that fires off an email. But whether we do it automatically or manually, the first thing we want to tell people who inquire that way is to visit the website.

Another club might respond with detailed contact information for the VP of Membership and directions to a meeting location, perhaps with a map or a picture of the venue included. You can craft your own custom response using the same tools you use to create a blog post.

Making it Work with Toastmasters.org Notifications

Toastmasters sends all email notifications to a single email address that you register in Club Central. Many clubs make sure these messages get to all the people who need to see them — the officers responsible for member recruiting, the education program etc., the treasurer, etc. — by making that one address forward to multiple email addresses.

Step 1: Forward to findaclub@toastmost.org

I can provide toastmost.org forwarding addresses on request. Or you may find it’s simpler to set up forwarding from a GMail account. For the autoresponse feature to work, one of the destination forwarding addresses must be findaclub@toastmost.org.

The toastmost.org software recognizes messages coming from the Find a Club service and ignores any other incoming messages it receives.

Step 2: Register the Address Messages will Come From

On the administrator’s dashboard, the setup screen for this feature appears under RSVP Mailer (a bundle of email utilities included with RSVPMaker).

You need to enter the email address you have registered in Club Central, the one from which messages will be forwarded to findaclub@toastmost.org. That’s how the software knows those messages are associated with your club and not some other club.

Step 3: Create the Automated Response Message

On initial setup, you will be prompted to create a new message to be sent out as an automated response. Thereafter you can return to this screen at any time to revise that message. The title you enter into WordPress becomes the subject line of the email, and the body of the post becomes the body of the message.

Step 4: Verify That It’s Working

When this function is working correctly, you will see a notification that an autoreply has been sent a few minutes after that “prospective member” email comes in from Toastmasters.org.

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