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Home > Cochrane Staff > Data Protection > Using MailChimp for Cochrane Communications
Using MailChimp for Cochrane Communications
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MailChimp is the recommended tool for Cochrane Groups to send newsletters to contributors and interested members of the public. This is because:

  • it allows you to be GDPR compliant:
    • people can set their own preferences or unsubscribe
    • people can update their own contact details
    • it is always up to date
    • you can let people sign up direct from your website
  • it is free for up to 500 subscribers (this has recently gone down) and up to 1000 individual emails per month
  • Cochrane provides branding and support


Here are some tips on how to use MailChimp most efficiently to send your newsletters.


Essential guidance and compliance information about data protection is here - please make sure you've read this, before you send your next mailing.


Newsletter Templates

Cochrane provides fully branded and editable MailChimp templates. To get yours:

  1. Log into your MailChimp account
  2. In a new tab go here: community brand website
  3. Scroll down to Community Templates and download the zip file for the colour of your group. You'll find a word document called MailChimp Template and this includes a link you can use to get the template. This will add the template to your MailChimp account

There's a video here which shows you how this works.


Before you start creating your first newsletter you will need to edit your template. This will be the basis for all your newsletters in the future (you can change it later if you need to).


MailChimp emails are made up of blocks - they can be pictures, videos, text, banners etc. Every block can be moved, edited or deleted. To edit a block move your mouse over it and a black menu bar will appear - choose the pen icon and then the options for editing will appear in the right hand side of the page. 


To change the picture, chose "replace" and pick your own picture. 


Text boxes are set at 14pt Arial which is approved branding for newsletters. Please don't change this font style or size.


If you wish to direct people to your website or social media platforms you can tailor the "social follow" section:

You can add your own links and remove any that you don't use:


The footer at the bottom of the template uses the information you add about your audience to make a personalised footer. 


Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 




By law MailChimp is required to include a postal address and an unsubscribe link in every email you send. If you have a free account you are also required to put the MailChimp logo in the footer. This is all included in the standard footer, so it's not advised that you remove anything highlighted in yellow above. However you can add to it and change wording, and you should also insert the following after the unsubscribe link:

"Please note: unsubscribing will remove you from the YOUR GROUP'S NAME mailing list, but it will not unsubscribe you from other Cochrane Group mailing lists or from Cochrane's organisational mailing lists, which you can manage at"


Anything that looks like this: *|TEXT|* is called a Merge Tag and the ones in the footer above will insert your address and list description from your Audience Settings.


Audience settings

Make sure this information is up to date! Go to Audience and choose your audience (you may have more than one) then go to Settings.


  1. Go to Audience name and campaign defaults and make sure the following are completed:
    • Audience Name (e.g. your group's newsletter)
    • Default From Name (e.g. name of your group)
    • Default From Email Address (e.g.
  2. Go to Required email footer content and make sure the following are completed:
    • "Remind people how they signed up"  (e.g. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up at www.yourwebsite.example)
    • Company name (e.g. name of your group)
    • Address (your group's postal address)


MailChimp also provides "sign up" and other forms - these can be used on your website to help people sign up to your newsletter, or update their contact details.


Use the template to create a newsletter


  1. Go to "create" and choose "email". Give it a name (eg you group newsletter month year).
  2. Once you've filled in the "to", "from" and "subject" information, click on "design email" and you'll be taken to a menu of templates. The Cochrane one you imported earlier will be under "Saved Templates" - click on it.
  3. You can now enter text and images. Any changes you make to this will not change the original template. Mailchimp has lots of help on editing here.
  4. You can personalise your email - use the *|FNAME|* tag in your salutation so that each recipient will see "Dear [their first name]" - see more information here.
  5. Check you are happy with the footer. If you have deleted any of the required elements MailChimp will add its own. To stop this appearing make sure your footer contains all the right content.
  6. You can save at any time by clicking "Continue". This will save your newsletter as a draft.
  7. You can preview your newsletter and send yourself a test version to see how it looks.
  8. Once you're happy with it you can send it, or schedule it for a particular date/time.


Add a signup form to your website


You can create a signup form to your mailing list, and link to it from your website. People could sign up very easily and you can customise the form with your own text, pictures and sign-up options using the Form Builder, and also share it on social media. Details of how to set this up are here.


Further support


MailChimp has a lot of other great tutorials in the help section. Please contact with any Cochrane-specific queries.


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