Although it may seem old-fashioned, email can nevertheless still be a useful tool for internal communication. This can take the form of one-way email lists, whereby the organisation sends emails to (a section of) its members/supporters without facilitating a conversation or necessarily expecting a reply. This can be useful for mass emails making people aware of events or developments within the organisation, which may take the form of newsletters
A newsletter is a report containing news relating to the organisation that is sent on a regular basis to its members and/or supporters. Beyond obviously being a useful way to update individuals about developments, this also provides a means by which to prompt involvement through, for example, a call to action or event which can be related to the news. It also reminds individuals of the organisation’s work, thereby facilitating continued engagement.
The sending of newsletters is a relatively simple process which can be done either from an organisation’s email platform or by using a service designed for that purpose, such as mailchimp. For a simple discussion on creating a good newsletter in general, there are many resources on the internet, such as this article by Style Factory Productions.
Extremely important in the disseminating of newsletters is the consideration of what is legal. In the European Union, for example, this means abiding by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced in 2018. For a comprehensive detailing of the regulation, see here. For a more simple overview of how to be GDPR compliant in terms of email consent see here.
Email for groups
Another form of email list is one which creates a multiway conversation. In this type of email list, anyone can send an email to a given address and it goes to all members, who can then respond to this email to create an ongoing conversation. This can be useful for small organisations or small groups within a larger organisation. This method has significantly less functionality than other forms of multiway communication, such as Whatsapp, Telegram and, in particular, Slack. However, it has the advantage of being more accessible to people who may be averse to more complex platforms, such as Slack, or may not have access to certain platforms such as WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is a mobile phone app that also has a web application and communicates via the use of mobile numbers over the internet. It allows for the creation of groupchats as well as sending messages to individuals. It is more secure than platforms such as Facebook and allows for the sending of better quality videos and images. Compared to Slack, it is simpler to use and more widely used than both it and alternatives such as Telegram. However, on the flip side, Slack has far more functionality and Telegram has slightly better functionality for the purposes of political organisations.
Telegram is a cloud-based messaging app which is encrypted and can allow messages to self-destruct, thereby making it highly secure and allowing access from multiple devices at the same time. As well as a mobile app, it has both a web and desktop application. In terms of security and functionality, then, it is superior for political organisations compared to WhatsApp. However, it is not as commonly used as WhatsApp is in many countries, which may cause a lack of communication or confusion for people in how to use it.
Signal is an app which is extremely similar to Telegram. For a tech-based discussion on which is better, see this article. For the purposes of internal communication in a political organisation, the most important differentiation is which, if either, the individuals involved will use more.
Team communication apps