“Susan said she emailed me last week, but I don’t see it anywhere. Did someone delete it?”
“We just posted the new Bible study schedule to Facebook. If you get any emails about it, can you tell Father?”
“No, I never responded to his question, I thought you were going to!”
Does any of this sound familiar? That’s because when you share a single email address, confusing things tend to happen among small and large church staffs alike! While we often think the easiest thing to do is just keep one single email address that everyone can access, it’s not the smartest.
Here are five reasons why you need dedicated email addresses for your parish staff.
1. Convenient but Confusing
There is something to say about the ease of logging into a computer and having access to one central message system. Unfortunately, there are some problems that come with the ease and convenience of a single email address for a team of people: it might become puzzling for those you correspond with.
When someone sends an email to a “catch all” address, they never know who they’re going to get, when they will be answered, or even if their message will get through. Say, for example, Jeremy the office administrator is out on sick leave for the next month. Instead of a customized away message announcing the timeframe of when he’ll be gone and who they should connect with, they don’t get anyone. Or they get the pastor, but he’s not sure who he needs to connect with. Or worse, they don’t get a response at all because each person who access the account thought someone else was in charge.
To minimize the amount of confusion that often arises in a parish office regardless, an email for each person will help keep the lines open and communication clear to everyone who needs assistance.
2. Security Should be a Priority
Phishing scams are very real these days, the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to remain diligent and never click on an unfamiliar email, link or download. Unfortunately, that becomes nearly impossible if you’re sharing an email address with colleagues.
A familiar phishing scam is an email that looks like it is responding to a message sent from your account. So, if the subject line is an urgent message, and implores you to check the attached document, or click the link to respond as soon as possible, chances are you or a fellow staff member will do it as a favor to the person they think it’s meant to go to. And that’s when the trouble really begins!
3. People Can (Will?) Become Confused
Have you ever been corresponding with someone over email, and felt a disconnect? Perhaps there wasn’t a specific name signed with each email, but the signature at the bottom listed
“parish staff.” And you just assumed that it was with the same person, but now …well … maybe not? More likely, it was with multiple people.
When the job of answering emails is assigned by task/time, instead of specific people, it’ll definitely feel disconnected, and perhaps even allow for misinformation if there are multiple emails going back and forth. Keep information and tone consistent by assigning one person per email address.
4. Important Emails Will Get Lost
Have you ever missed an email because you never got the notification that it was in your inbox? Oftentimes, that happens when you read it, but forget to go back to it. Imagine, then, when multiple people are checking, writing, and responding to emails using the same the account.
Someone clicks on the email, reads and realizes that it’s meant for someone else. If they don’t remember to click “Mark as Unread” or at least inform the intended addressee, chances are it won’t get to them.
5. Sharing an Email Means You’ll Share a Lot More
If you have a church management system, use social media for work, or utilize creative programs to get the bulletin made, you’ll need an email address to create your account. And depending on which account you use, most only allow one account per email. This means that if you’re sharing your email, you’ll also be sharing various other accounts.
Sharing an account means that you won’t be able to customize it according to your needs and preferences. That means that the user algorithm won’t be utilized correctly when multiple staff members access the account when it’s not meant to be a multi-user experience.