Editor's Note: Since you're reading this on the Internet, we thought that you might be able to pass the word to fellow members about the advantage of keeping their Email open to TCA communications by republishing a recent article from the National Headquarters News.
By Stu Rankin, for the TCA Internet Committee Winter 2013
SAVE MONEY—Provide the TCA Business Office with your Email Address
Most TCA members have an email address. Many of those members have shared their email address with the TCA Business Office. Have you? If so, Thank You! If not, please do so ASAP. It helps TCA greatly to have a valid email address on file for TCA members. Just send an email to email@example.com and be assured that TCA will not spam you, nor share your email address with others.
Don't have an email address? They're free to get. Go to gmail.com, yahoo.com, hotmail.com, or any of the many other sites that provide you with free email addresses. You can even choose your "handle" … the part that goes before the "@" sign. How would you like to be known as TrainLuvr@this.com or GrandPaIsGreat@that.com or NorfolkWesternJ611@whatever.com (note: "this.com," "that.com," and "whatever.com" don't actually offer email addresses, I'm just using them as examples).
Don't have a computer? That's OK, because the library in your town has them for use, usually for free. Sure, you'll probably have to get a library card, but that's free too.
So, free computer usage, free email addresses, and the knowledge that TCA won't share your email address with anyone outside the organization. What are you waiting for? Please let the TCA National Business Office know what your email address is. Oh yeah, about that "Save Money" part in the title of this article—I'm out of space for this month, so look for the Internet Committee article in the next National Headquarters News.
And a special note from TCA Operations Manager John Luppino:
When you provide TCA with your email address, it goes in two places, and only those places:
In our Membership Database. This is securely stored, and allows us to email you individually when necessary, and to send out small batch mailings directly from TCA to members, for instance dealing with membership status, availability of certain member information, or to respond expeditously to an inquiry.
For mass mailings to all members, or to members of divisions as requested by those division officers, we use a commercial service: Constant Contact. We upload the email addresses from our Membership Database to Constant Contact. This service allows us to send emails to over 15,000 members (better than half the total membership). To assure compliance with Federal regulations against SPAM, Constant Contact provides an Opt-Out mechanism in every email.
If you opt-out, even though TCA has your address and is allowed to contact you from Strasburg, Constant Contact will not allow your email address to be used in its service. That's as it should be, however we have encountered a number of situations where members for some reason opted out, then wondered why they never got email notices from us.
The answer is that once a member opts out from Constant Contact, TCA cannot and would not add you back to their list. Only YOU can opt back in. So if you want to opt in, just contact TCA at
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call TCA, and you'll be advised of a special web page where YOU can opt back in. Only TCA members may enroll in this list.
This is a sample mailing to all signed-up members sent through our Constant Contact mailing service.
Typical subjects include Convention Cars, bus trips, book signings, special events at TCA, availability of toy train manufacturer presentation videos, convention registration notices, special messages from officers, and periodic newsletters to members in participating divisions.
There will be more special information sent to members in the future, that's why we want you to seriously consider doing two things:
Provide TCA with your email address.
Don't opt out of Constant Contact, or if you did, contact TCA for details on how to opt back in. We can't do it for you!
As Stu Rankin indicates, it will help save TCA money, which helps keep dues under control, and gets you better service.