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Part 1: Set up your AWS mail server
Part 1: Set up your AWS mail server
Updated over a week ago

In order to engage with your leads, you first need to set up your mail server. We've chosen to integrate with AWS (Amazon Web Services), because of their reliability and their pricing.

How much does the mail server cost?

  • Setting up an AWS mail server is free, and there are no fixed monthly costs.

  • Every month you can send 62,000 emails for free.

  • After that, it costs $0.10 for every 1,000 emails that you send.

So, if you have 50,000 donors and leads, and you send two newsletters per month (100,000 total emails), you'd get the first 62,000 emails for free, and the next 38,000 would cost $3.80.

Note that through TechSoup, registered non-profit organizations can receive a $2,000 AWS credit (at a cost of $175). That credit would be enough to send over 20,000,000 emails a year!

How to set up your AWS account

Step 1: Sign up for an AWS account

  1. Sign up for a new AWS account by clicking here. You'll be asked to enter an email address and select a username, and a verification code will be sent to you by email. You'll then be prompted to select a password. Then,

    1. Enter your contact information.

    2. Provide a credit card (which won't be charged, but will be held on file).

    3. Provide a mobile phone number, and confirm the text message that you receive.

  2. Under "support plan" select "Basic support - Free"

You should then see this screen. Click on "Go to the AWS Management Console".

Now, sign in as a "root user" using the email address and password that you signed up with.

This should bring you into the Management Console. On the top right corner of the page you'll see a US state (here we see "N. Virginia").

In the event that you see anything other than N. Virginia, please click on it and change the selection to "US East (N. Virginia) us-east-1. If you already see N. Virginia, skip to the next step.

Then, in the search bar above, type SES. You should see this option - select it (or you can just click here).

Step 2: Verify your email address or domain

Now, on the left side of the page, click Verified Identities.

You'll then see a screen that identifies verified the web domains or email addresses from which you can send emails. To verify a new domain or email, click "create identity".

You have the option of verified a web domain, or a single email address. By verifying a web domain (ex. you can send emails from any email under that domain (ex., Verifying an email address is simpler, but allows you only to send from that particular email address.

In this example, we'll verify a new email address. Select "email address" and enter the email that you want to verify. Then click the "Create Identity" button at the bottom.

AWS will then send a verification link to the email address that you're verifying. Click on the link. Once you've done so, you should be taken to a screen that says:

If you want to send emails from additional email addresses, you can perform the verification once again, or you can verify an entire domain like (and so send from any email address of that domain), following the instructions that AWS provides.

Step 3: Moving your account from Sandbox mode to Production mode

Since this is a new account, it's initially limited to 200 emails per day. In order to remove this restriction and activate this as a full account, follow these instructions:

On the Dashboard, you'll see the "Request Production Access" button. Click on it.

There will now be a form to fill out:

  • Under Mail type select "marketing".

  • Under Website URL enter your organization's website.

  • Under Use case description, enter the following (or change it to meet your use case):

We plan to use Amazon SES to email our organization’s supporters, all of whom have opted into receiving my email communications. We send a newsletter email to our lists every month. The lists are managed in our CRM system, and then exported to our email marketing platform (Sendy), which connects to Amazon SES.

When a user unsubscribes from our newsletter, or when an email bounces, perhaps because of an incorrectly typed email address, our email platform Sendy adds them to the blacklist, making us unable to send future emails to that recipient. We similarly mark in our CRM that the recipient should not be communicated with by email. If there are any complaints, we immediately (manually) add that email address to the blacklist and ensure that the recipient does not receive future emails.

Then, agree to the terms and submit the request.

Sometimes, Amazon may send you an (almost instant) email stating that they "would like to gather more information about your use case". If you receive it, don't reply to the email (it won't work - a bug on AWS' part) rather go AWS support history, click on the case, click "reply", and then paste the same text as you did above, clicking the "submit" button when you are finished.

Note that you must have production access before you can send emails through our platform.

Step 4: Increasing your sending limits

Generally within a day or less, your production access will be granted. You'll then need to apply to increase your sending limit. and you'll receive a quota of 50,000 messages per day, at a send rate of 14 messages per second (meaning that it will take 1 hour to send 50,000 emails). If you'd like to increase your daily quota and sending rate, follow these instructions:

To request an increase on your Amazon SES sending quotas, simply open the Service Quotas console. In the navigation pane, choose AWS services. Then search for "SES" and select "Amazon Simple Email Service(Amazon SES)". Enter the number that you wish to increase to, and then click "Request". For help, see our video below:

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