Sending the mail merge

From the PTC or ASA Parent interface, click the Generate Login Links button in order to create unique URLs for each parent. If you add new parents later, they will not automatically have login links.  You should press the Generate button again right before preparing the mail merge, just in case you have any new parents.  This will only add new links – the existing links will still continue to work fine.

You can check that the number of parent records matches the number of parent automatic login URLs from the Dashboard panel.  

Download the list of parent login URLs by clicking the Generate CSV with Links button.  This will create and export a file you can use with your preferred mail merge software.  It contains three columns, with parents name, email address, and the link that will allow them to sign on with one click.  

The PTC Teacher page has a similar button which creates the same type of login link file.  The teachers and the parents can both be sent their links with a mail merge.

Once you’ve downloaded the Login Link file in CSV format, you can create a mail merge which will send a customized email to each person.  Since the messages go one at a time, they are not likely to get flagged as spam.  Also, they can each be customized to the recipient.  Here are some different ways your school can do mail merges.

If you use Outlook for email, mail merge is built in.  You just open the Login Link CSV file in Excel.  Depending on which version of Office you have, the process may vary, but Microsoft’s support page has details on mail merge.

If you use FirstClass, there is a powerful tool called FirstClass Mass Mailer which you will love.  Normally, your school’s IT department or email administrator has to install it for you and give you permission to send mail merges.  See the FirstClass webpage for instructions.

If you are using Gmail, there are a variety of mass mail add-ons and options.  One of the best is YAMM by Romain Vialard.  It’s free to use, but if you need to send hundreds or thousands of emails, you need to purchase a paid upgrade.  It’s not as expensive as it seems, since the purchase covers the entire school domain, so everyone benefits.

If YAMM isn’t an option for you, it’s also possible to send mass mails using a Google Spreadsheet Script.