Mailchimp User Guide

Mailchimp is a practical CRM system to improve your think tanks digital infrastructure and it handles all your mailings.


In this document, we explain the process to send emails by using the pre-existing groups and segments and using the predefined email templates. You can can find more information about a) how to send standard and custom email lists b) adding/editing/deleting contacts and c) the basic recommended structure to being able to use your Mailchimp as a basic CRM tool. You can also find extensive information on how to use the different features included in Mailchimp in the Mailchimp knowledge center.

Log on to Mailchimp

In order to access Mailchimp please visit the page: and using your respective user and password.

Sending Mails

Sending Standard Mailings

Mailchimp is designed to work with a single list, that’s why you should have all your contacts in one distribution list. If your think tank has to send Mailings to subscribers for regional or program updates, newsletters etc., you can use the Groups and Segments functionality on mailchimp.

For the email design you can use a general predefined Template that you just need to fill in.

In order to send any emails please follow these steps: 1. Once you have logged into Mailchimp go to create a new campaign.

2. In next screen choose Email, enter a name for your campaign that reflects the nature of your email, ie: Event 01.09.2018.

3. Click begin, in the next screen in the ‘To’ section choose [your think tanks] distribution list and then specify the segment that you would like to reach and click save.

*Sending a mail to a custom list of contacts is found in the Sending custom mailings section below.

4. Fill the From and Subject information and save them.

5. Click Design Email. In this panel on the top menu select Saved Templates. You can use the search box to look for the right type of template (event, etc..).

6. Once you have selected the desired template, click next and that will open the Email editing page, here you can add your content. You will find very useful information about content editing in the Mailchimp Knowledge base.

7. Once you are ready, click Save & Close. Before sending your email is recommended that you send a test email to yourself to make sure that everything looks alright!

8. When everything is ready, you will find the send button in the upper right of the screen, mailchimp will pop up a window asking for your final confirmation:

Sending Custom Mailings

You might want to send a mailing to a specific list of contacts, say for an event invitations or to reach out to special interest groups.

If you have your contacts in a spreadsheet:

  1. Make sure it contains the following columns: First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Greeting, Language. Ideally you will have as much information as possible, here you can find a template with all the desired fields.

  2. Go to Lists > [your think tank/name] Distributions List > Add contacts > Import Contacts

  3. Copy/paste from file

  4. Copy the information from the spreadsheet (including column name) and paste it in the box.

  5. Review that the columns are correctly mapped :

6. In the next screen add a tag for the event : ‘Event xyz’ and make sure to mark the “Update existing contacts” field.

7. Click import and now you are ready to send them a campaign 8. Go to Campaigns > select [name] distribution list and in Tags select the tag that you just created 9. Delete the spreadsheet for data protection reasons

If the contacts are already in mailchimp:

  • If the contacts are already organised in a specific group, click here for more info.

  • If you have the list of email addresses:

1.Go to new campaigns and choose [your think tank] distribution list

2. In the Segment or Tag select : Group or new segment:

3. Paste the list of emails into the Email addresses box

4. And click build segment

  • If you don’t have the list of emails:

The best way of managing this in mailchimp is to create a new tag for this event such as : “Event XYZ” and assigning it to the contacts that you want to reach:

  1. Create a new Tag : Go to List > [name] Distributions List > Manage Contacts > Tags > Create Tags

  2. Go back to the list of subscribers.

  3. Search for your contact and add the newly created tag.

  4. Once you have done that with all your contacts go back to campaigns

  5. Choose foraus distribution list.

  6. In the Segment or Tag, select the newly created Tag from the dropdown and send your campaign.

Adding Contacts

Adding a list of new contacts is pretty easy. Ideally you should have as much information as you can from your new contacts, here is a template that you can use as a reference to collect contacts data (copy the headers to your own sheet). Once you have all the information for your contacts :

  1. Go to Lists > [name] Distribution List > Add Contacts > Import Contacts.

  2. In the next screen select Copy/paste from .xls or .xlsx file.

  3. Copy all the information from the spreadsheet and paste it in the blank area.

  4. Review that all the columns are mapped correctly

  5. In the next screen you can assign Groups and Tags to those contacts. Make sure that “Update existing contacts” is checked. If you want to subscribe these users to one of the regional or program groups you need to mark the “add contacts to interest groups” check box, i.e:

6. Click import and now you have the contacts in your list!

Editing/Deleting Contacts

To manage your contacts go List > [name] distribution List, there you can search for the contact that you are looking for. If you mark the check box next to the contact/s you want to manage, you will see the editing options on the top of the list, including the delete:

If you click on the email address it will take you to the contact profile page where you can perform further actions such as adding / removing tags, managing groups, adding notes for this contact etc..

How are the contacts structured?

Out recomended set up is aligned with Mailchimp’s best practice of having a single list with all the contacts making use of the different tools such as groups, segments and tags to slice the contacts for specific targeted campaigns.

Master List

The master list is the new list that will contain all type of foraus users including members and subscribers. For your own think tank, you can use Master lists for the same purpose.

Example of foraus List Fields

Email address

Email address is unique within the list

First Name

First name is compulsory

Last Name

Last name is compulsory

Phone Number

Phone number with international code


Greeting is language specific


Preferred language could be either EN,DE,FR

Academic specialisation

Academic specialisation is optional

Academic Title

Academic title is optional


URL of linkedin profile


URL of twitter profile

Membership Start

Indicates the creation date of the profile

Last Payment

Last time membership was paid. This will be used to calculate whether this user is a current member or not.


Free text field


Birthday is optional

Company/ Organisation

Free text field

*You can find more information about how to manage list fields here.


Groups in Mailchimp are used to let users express their interest. For example in foraus, they have created three categories of groups. foraus regional groups: Zurich, Berne, Geneve, etc..; foraus program groups: Global Institutions, Migrations, European Affairs, etc… and Newsletters: foraus Newsletters, Espresso Diplomatique.

When a new user fills up the registration form, they will be able to choose which of these groups they wants to subscribe to.

*You can find more information about groups in the Mailchimp Knowledge base.


This is the mail tool within Mailchimp to slice subscribers for targeted campaigns. Segments are defined with a set of rules and automatically will include all the subscribers that match those rules. For example, if we would like to send an email to all the people subscribed for the foraus Newsletter in German we would define the following rule:

*You will find additional information and resources about segments in the Mailchimp Knowledge Base.


Tags is a new feature in Mailchimp and it is intended for internal categorisation of subscribers. Tags though while very versatile can be also quite messy. The main purpose of Tags is to create segments in a distribution list base on certain tags. It is important to use and create only tags that are meaningful for communication purposes and at the same time make sure that you use the tags that already exist.

*For more information about Tags in Mailchimp check the Tags section on the Mailchimp Knowledge base.

In summary, using all those tools together (list fields, groups, tags and segmentation) you can have a very flexible system to structure your content following the Mailchimp best practices and standards. At the same time you can keep all the contacts in a single list, reducing duplication and keeping the cost of Mailchimp as low as possible.

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