NeonCRM has many options for creating print mail merges. Merging in NeonCRM means that you can automatically place constituent data, such as names and addresses, into a letter. This will greatly speed up any bulk mailings or form letters your organization may need to send. You can even generate mailing labels. You can output print mail through a Microsoft Word Merge, export your list for an external merge, or use an internal NeonCRM merge. Many of the lists for print merges can be created automatically by the system, but you can also create your own custom mailing lists through the reporting module. The automatic lists can be found in your Merge Queue.
Where do your mailing lists come from? There are two primary sources of mailing lists for print merges.
The most straightforward way to create a mailing list is by running a report from here: Reports > New Report. Open the reporting module, create a New Report, and select Mailing Report. You’ll specify some sort of criteria to set up your mailing list to include the people you’re targeting.
From the Mailing Report and Household Report you can click the option to Create Mailing, which allows you to choose the type of merge to perform and add the letters to Material Tracking.
All reports have the 'Excel' function to export the results and perform the mail merge from there.
If you are using Internet Explorer, in most reports you'll also see the Mail Merge link, which takes you directly to the Microsoft Word merge page.
NeonCRM can automate some of your more common types of mailings, such as donation thank-you letters, membership reminders, and event registration confirmations. Constituents are added to queues for these letters by selecting a checkbox while you’re adding donations, registering them for events, and other similar tasks. You can also configure the system to automatically add people completing online forms.
The Merge Queue is found by navigating to: Communications > Mail Merges
The Mail Merges in Progress section displays any letters that are currently being merged by a staff user of your system. If a staff user begins to merge some letters, but fails to complete the process, the letters end up here. A staff user can resume the mail merge by clicking Continue.
The Pending Merges section shows you all of the constituents that need to be mailed, sorted by type of mailing. To merge letters of a particular type, click Merge Letters for that type of letter.
The Completed Merges section stores records of letters that have been successfully merged within the last 90 days. You can click View Merged Letters to see these letters.
Once you have clicked Merge Letters, you will be taken to a page where you can select the recipients of your mailing. At the top of the page, you can filter your results by mailing type and by date range.
Your recipient list gives you several options for working with letters. Select the letters you wish to send by clicking the checkboxes on the left column.
If you choose NEON Letter Merge, your selected letters will be merged using your letter templates. You then print out the letters from your web browser.
Selecting External Merge will export your recipient data to either Microsoft Word or Excel, where you can merge the letters using an external application.
Choosing Mark Complete will not actually merge the letter. It will simply mark the letter as "sent" on the constituent's record, and remove it from the list of letters to merge. The letter will also be added to the list of completed merges.
Clicking Remove from List will remove the letter from the list of letters to merge, but will not add it to the list of completed merges. If you do this by mistake, you can always re-merge the letter manually by going to the constituent's account record and clicking the letter icon.
You’ll notice that some of these merges have an Email icon.This means that this particular type of mail can also be completed with an email. Clicking the icon brings up a page where you can send this constituent the message via email. Fill out the message as you find it necessary, and send it.
When you send the message, it will be moved to the Completed Merges list. If you decide that you need to re-send a mailing from this list, select the letter and click Mark Pending. This will send the letter back to the Pending Merges queue.
You can view all merged letters completed in the last 90 days by selecting either View Completed Merges or View Merged Letters in the Completed Merges section.
This takes you to a list of all completed merges. You can filter this list using the criteria at the top of the page and clicking Search.
You can view merged letters of more than one type by using the multi-select box for Mail Type.
If you would like to re-merge any of the letters in the Completed Merges list, select the letter and click Return Letter to Pending Merges List. This will allow you to merge this letter again.
Configuring the Merge Queue
The settings that control which actions add constituents to the mail merge queue are found here:
System Settings > System Settings Home > Communications > Transaction Acknowledgements > System Email & Letter Defaults
There are three different options for merging for print mail. You can export your list to Excel and merge using Microsoft word, perform a NeonCRM letter merge using pre-defined HTML templates, or you can merge to Word from within NeonCRM.
An external merge simply exports the relevant fields into an Excel spreadsheet that you can use as a data source for performing a mail merge using Microsoft Word’s merging feature.
You can do this simply by exporting your report results to Excel. This works in any browser.
You can also perform an external merge of letters in your pending mail merges queue. To do this, navigate to the Pending Merges list, select the letters you wish to merge and click External Merge.
Click Download or Download and Mark Complete to export the data to Excel
NeonCRM merges use HTML templates that you can create within NeonCRM or upload if you have a custom one.
These templates are configured here: System Settings > System Settings Home > Letter Template Configuration
Once your templates are configured the way you want them, you can easily merge to them.
To perform a NeonCRM merge, go to the Pending Merges list, select your letters and click NEON Letter Merge.
This generates an HTML preview of your message with buttons to print the letters as well as mailing labels.
Clicking Current Labels provides you an Excel sheet with the mailing information for the constituents, and Print brings up your computer’s printing application.
Merging mailing lists directly to Microsoft Word relies on technology that connects Microsoft Word with Microsoft's Internet Explorer. While we generally do not recommend using Internet Explorer with NeonCRM, you must use it for this feature to work. If you’re using Internet Explorer 9, you may need to enable compatibility mode.
If you are using Internet Explorer, you will either see the Mail Merge or the Create Mailing option in the Export Results dropdown. The difference between the two is that any report with the Create Mailing option can be tracked in the Material Tracking section of NeonCRM.
From any Report (though a Mailing Report is preferred) click Mail Merge or Create Mailing.
If your report has the Mail Merge option, you will be taken directly to the Microsoft Word mail merge page.
If your report has the Create Mailing option, you will be taken to this page:
Select Merge to Microsoft Word and click Continue.
Note: If you do not see the options to Merge to Microsoft Word, most likely you are not using Internet Explorer. Change your browser to Internet Explorer and try again.
This brings up the mail merge page with instructions for security settings. You must follow the instructions provided for the mail merge to work properly.
Once your security settings are configured, you should be ready to execute your mail merge. You have two options for how you can accomplish your merge. You can either push a Word Template up to NeonCRM, or you can pull the NeonCRM data directly into Word.
Option 1 - Use an Existing Template
If you choose to start with an existing template, you’ll want to build it in Word using the built-in merge fields found under the Mailing Tab. You may have to create some fake data inside word to enable access to the merge fields. Once your template is ready, be sure to save it in the correct template format Word Template (*.dotx).
Back in NeonCRM, select the template file and click the link to start the merge process. You’ll receive a notice about an ActiveX control. This is normal. Click through it. Word will now prompt you to map your data fields. Match the fields, and continue. You should now have a merged letter. If you need to make changes to individual letters, you can do that in Word.
Option 2 - Create a new template
Your second option is to create a new template with NeonCRM data. If you click this option, Word will open a blank document. You can either type in your content or paste it from another document. You’ll add your merge fields just as shown before, and then perform the merge using Word’s merge button.
Completing a Mail Merge in Microsoft Word
Your NeonCRM merge templates may or may not be configured already in your system. To check on these templates, go to:
System Settings > System Settings Home > Communications > Transaction Acknowledgments > System Letters
The System Letters heading will show you which templates have been configured. The Un-configured System Letters heading lists the types of templates with a default version of NeonCRM that you would need to configure before using. Clicking View will show you what a template looks like. Clicking Detail will show you version information and provide you the options to rebuild it or upload a new version.