Mailchimp meets Lamplight

We had a Q&A style Google Hangout today with a few customers that had questions about the new Mailchimp integration.  We didn’t go over the process again – you can watch that in the previous hangout.  Unfortunately, due to a technical mishap, only Matt could be heard on the audio on the recording, so it’s only got half the conversations.  Instead of posting the recording, here are some of the questions that came up.


Q. I can’t see any Mailchimp settings in Lamplight

A. We need to switch it on for you – please contact us.  You’ll also need the communications module to store logged campaigns.  Once that’s done, you’ll see the main settings in admin -> system administration -> change global settings (on the communications tab).


Q. I already have a list in Mailchimp set up; now I want to link it with Lamplight.  How does that work?

A. First you’ll need to set up Lamplight with the API key from Mailchimp (see previous video).  Then choose the list you want to use in the system admin section.

Next, go to the main admin menu (admin -> system administration) and you’ll see a link to ‘Import data from the Mailchimp list’.  Click this and Lamplight will schedule a job to import the people on your list.

If someone is already on Lamplight (matched by email address), they won’t be added again.  If they’re not, Lamplight will create a simple profile for them, as a service user.

These new profiles won’t be added to any groups in Lamplight, and their profiles will only have names and email addresses.  You’ll need to update their profiles and add them to a group in Lamplight, and then sync that back to Mailchimp to create a segment you can use in campaigns.

You should only need to do this once.


Q. I sent a campaign in Mailchimp, and although the main content of the message came into Lamplight, it didn’t link to any profiles – in Lamplight it looks like it was sent to 0 people.

A. Lamplight connects groups to ‘segments’ of lists in Mailchimp.  If you send a campaign to the list (or to a segment that you’ve made in Mailchimp, not Lamplight), then currently Lamplight can’t work out who it was sent to.  Basically, you need to use a segment that’s ‘come from’ Lamplight.

Your segment might include everyone in the list – that’ll work fine.  You’ll need to set up a group in Lamplight that includes everyone in the list, and then sync it to Mailchimp.

When you create a new campaign in Mailchimp, make sure you select ‘Send to a saved segment’ in the ‘to which list shall we send’.  You can spot the Lamplight linked ones because they’ll be called something like “Newsletter recipients LL123” where the LL123 is LampLight group ID 123.

Screenshot of Mailchimp create campaign
When sending a Mailchimp campaign, select a segment that’s been created from a Lamplight group

The reason for this is that Mailchimp lets you have lots of lists, but they recommend that you don’t have the same person appearing in multiple lists.  Because groups in Lamplight will often have the same person in several, we felt it was going to work best to use a single list with segments.


tldr; As of 31st July 2013 Lamplight will no longer actively support Internet Explorer 8 or below.  You ought to upgrade soon.

Why?  A number of reasons.

Windows XP is on the way out.

The only sensible reason for using Internet Explorer (IE) 8 in most cases is that you have Windows XP operating system.  IE9 and 10 do not run on Windows XP, so you have to upgrade the operating system, and possibly hardware, to upgrade Internet Explorer – which may get expensive (but needn’t be – see below).

However, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP in April 2014.  In Microsoft’s own words

you will no longer receive updates, including security updates

and you can read more about the security and privacy implications of this from Microsoft.  In short: you should stop using XP too.

So, if you’re using Windows XP, you need to be thinking about upgrading soon.  And if you’re not using Windows XP, you can use Internet Explorer 9 or 10, or…

There are other (better) browsers

That’s assuming you want to keep using Internet Explorer: there are other browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari or Opera (which all work on XP and above).  All of which are better than IE8.  If you are really stuck with IE8 for now, you could try Google Frame

Other things will stop working (or have already)

Google Apps stopped support last year.  Disqus (a commenting system for blogs) doesn’t show comments.  More and more web sites and applications will reduce or remove support for IE8 as we approach April 2013.

It’s expensive to support old browsers

IE8 has quirks and is missing a number of standard features, which makes supporting it takes time  we’d rather be spending on other things.  An Australian company called Kogan added a 6.8% tax on all purchases made using IE7.  The New York Times created a web-page and had to employ one person solely to make it work in IE8.

It’s cheap to upgrade (or can be)

If you don’t want to upgrade your hardware, you could consider moving to a Free and Open Source alternative like Ubuntu instead of Windows.  It’s different, but familiar; it looks similar, and free software is available to do pretty much everything you might want to do on Windows.

If your computer can handle it, you could upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.  Registered charities can do so for £8 per computer through Charity Technology Exchange.

What will happen if I keep using IE8?

First of all, you’ll soon see a warning on the login page linking to this blog post.  But otherwise, nothing much, at least not for now.  Lamplight won’t suddenly stop working on the 1st August.  But as time goes on we will no longer test new features on IE8, and we won’t fix problems that only appear on IE8.  Some functionality that uses modern web technologies may not work at all.

But really, the security risks in continuing to use Windows XP beyond April 2013 are so significant that we would say you must upgrade before then.

When we wrote the original blog post about the impact of City Angels we tried to find some statistics about Accident and Emergency admissions in Chichester as another indicator on their impact.  We couldn’t find the sort of data we needed – it had to be for Friday nights only and anything that was there didn’t seem to be freely available or at the right level of detail.

But City Angels have just been told that Friday night admissions last year were down a massive 61%.  Particularly given the recent anxiety about A&E resources that’s a really significant impact.

With our data-nerds hats on, we were also really excited that City Angels had received additional funding to start operating on Saturday nights – which would seem a good thing for Chichester – but also because it provides a natural experiment over two years.

In fact, at the moment they’re operating on Friday nights every week, and every other week on Saturdays – so hopefully later in the year they’ll be able to get police and health data comparing ‘on’ and ‘off’ Saturdays.

And one other snippet of impact – some of their new volunteers are people who’ve previously been helped by the Angels on a Friday night.

It’s a reminder to us that really compelling evidence of the impact you have doesn’t necessarily need to involve big and complex (and expensive) studies.  You may already be unwittingly carrying out a natural experiment of this sort, and just need a little bit of data and analysis to discover the results.