Mailchimp app

Installing the app, automatically importing subscribers and syncing opt outs

Updated over a week ago

Mailchimp is the world's most popular email marketing platform, well-liked by businesses and charities alike. Its suite of tools makes it easy to create compelling email newsletters, automate drip sequences for new supporters, and report on the success of your team's email campaigns.

Beacon's integration with Mailchimp gives you the ability to use the wealth of information in your Beacon account to drive segmentation and selection for your emails, and also ensure that you won't accidentally email someone who's opted out of email communications.


Integration overview video

Watch our summary video to understand how Beacon's Mailchimp app helps you to segment your audience and keep your contact consents up to date.


The Mailchimp app has a variety of features to make managing your email lists easy!

  • Automatically import new Mailchimp subscribers to Beacon
    Someone signs up or is added to Mailchimp directly? Now they're in Beacon!

  • Export contacts to Mailchimp
    Use your Beacon data to choose who you'd like to send a campaign to

  • Opt-outs and unsubscribes kept in sync
    Unsubscribing in Mailchimp, or removing email consent in Beacon, is always reflected in the other system so that your data is always up to date

  • Sent emails logged in Beacon
    Timeline activities are created for each campaign's recipient

  • Automate marketing with Workflows
    Use Beacon's Workflows element to automatically add and tag contacts to Mailchimp, especially useful to trigger Mailchimp automations

Installation and setup

Suggested Mailchimp structure

Here are some general recommendations that will help you to make the most of our Mailchimp app:

  • Use a single audience
    Beacon's integration works best with Mailchimp's recommendation to use a single audience. Multiple audiences make it hard to manage people's consent, can lead to storing some contacts multiple times, and complicates processes.

  • Don't store segmentation data within Mailchimp
    For example: you won't need to keep track of who your donors are, who are VIPs, and who is a volunteer. Whilst this will seem counter-intuitive to how you may have used your Mailchimp account previously, it's better to use the wealth of information within your Beacon account for campaign selection, so that you have a 'single source of truth'. It also means less work to try to keep two systems in sync!

Connect to Mailchimp

Connecting to your Mailchimp account is quick and easy!

  1. Head to Apps > Directory in the sidebar of your Beacon account

  2. Click 'Install' on the Mailchimp app

  3. Click 'Connect with Mailchimp'

  4. When prompted, log in to Mailchimp, and then click 'Allow' to connect Beacon and Mailchimp

  5. Back in Beacon, you'll see that the account is connected. Select the audience to monitor in the 'Audience' section, and then save the integration settings.

Success! Beacon and Mailchimp are connected.

New subscribers to your audience in Mailchimp will be added to Beacon and any unsubscribes in Mailchimp, or removal of email consent in Beacon, will be reflected in the other platform.

Import your existing contacts

Now that you're connected and any new subscribers will be added to Beacon, it's time to bring in your existing contacts.

It's pretty straightforward, and we've got a guide just for that here!

Using the Mailchimp app

New subscribers

If you use a Mailchimp signup form for your newsletter or regular communications any new subscribers will also be added to Beacon. We'll bring across their first and last name, email address, and email consent (we'll also include their phone number or address if it's there).

If you'd like to add data to new subscribers from Mailchimp, you can include this fixed data in the app's settings:

Sending a campaign

When sending a campaign (whether it's a 'send to all' newsletter, or hyper-targeted VIP outreach) it's best practice to start with Beacon, and then send the relevant contacts to Mailchimp ready to be emailed.

Step one: Find your segment in Beacon

Head to your People list, and add filters to choose only those whom you are wanting to email. For a general newsletter, this would normally be:

  1. Email is not blank

  2. Contact consent is Email

Tip: We suggest saving this as a view called something like 'Email consent list' so that it's quick and easy to come back to each time!

For more targeted mailings, you would include additional filters for your segment. For example, if you were emailing only those who have donated this year, you'd add:

  1. Related payments: Number of payments, filtered for payment date is this year, is greater than zero

Step two: Export to Mailchimp

Now that you have your desired recipients for your email, let's send them to Mailchimp!

  1. Select all the records in your filtered list

  2. Click the action button (the three dots!) and choose 'Export to Mailchimp'

  3. Select your audience, and add a tag for the mailing you're about to do.
    For example, "Newsletter August 2024" or "VIP ask Q1 2025"

  4. Click 'Export now' to export your people

Step three: Send your campaign

Your segment is now in Mailchimp and awaiting their email. Simply create your email content as per usual using Mailchimp's campaign builder, then select the tag you gave the contacts as the 'To' for your campaign:

You're ready to send!

Once sent, you'll see that Beacon has logged an Activity on each recipient's timeline for that email:

Unsubscribes and opt-outs

Unsubscribes in Mailchimp and opt-outs in Beacon will both be reflected in the other platform, ensuring you always have accurate information for whom you shouldn't be contacting.

  • Removing email from the 'Contact consent' field in Beacon
    For any People records in Beacon that have email consent and are also subscribed in Mailchimp, removing email from the 'Contact consent' field will immediately unsubscribe them from all monitored Mailchimp audiences.

  • Unsubscribing from a Mailchimp audience
    If a contact is unsubscribed from a Mailchimp audience (whether by the contact or by a Mailchimp user) any contacts with that email address will have email removed from their contact consents in Beacon.

Note: Both of these actions are considered global removal of email consent.

If you have multiple audiences, or people in Beacon who share an email address, the above actions will affect all monitored audiences and all contacts who share that email address.

Using automations

Both Beacon and Mailchimp have automation features that you can use in various ways to improve your supporter journey and reduce the amount of time you need to spend sending repetitive emails.

Mailchimp journeys

Mailchimp has an automation feature to be able to start various 'Journeys' based on triggers for your contacts. You could use this to start a general "Welcome to our charity" drip campaign, or a journey specific to a segment of contacts.

You can see Mailchimp's various templated journeys, or build one from scratch, in Automations in your Mailchimp sidebar.

The two most common pre-built journeys we see customers using are:

  1. "Welcome new contacts"
    Send any new contacts on a journey

  2. "Email tagged customers"
    Send contacts that receive a specific tag on a journey

You can trigger these journeys by exporting People from Beacon, either by regular manual processes or automatically with workflows ⤵️

Beacon Workflows

Note: The Workflows element is available on the Standard, Premium and Ultimate plans.

Beacon's Workflows element can be used to automatically export a Person to Mailchimp, including tags of your choice, when particular actions happen in your Beacon account. These automated exports can then trigger your automated journeys within Mailchimp, making the process hands-free from start to finish!

For example, if you have designed a "Major donor journey" in Mailchimp that triggers whenever a contact receives the 'Major donor' tag, you can have a workflow in Beacon that tags that contact in Mailchimp whenever a person donates over £1000.

Tip: Our general recommendation is to use Beacon's workflows to help automate the adding of contacts into your Mailchimp journeys, rather than using them to try to keep segmentation information up-to-date in Mailchimp.

Always start with Beacon for segmenting your ad-hoc campaigns!

Filtering people based on Mailchimp campaign sends

When selecting your recipients of a new campaign in Mailchimp you can naturally include or exclude based on previous campaign sendings.

But what if you want to filter for that within Beacon?

To filter people based on the campaigns they've received, you can include filters for 'Related activities'. You can then use the campaign ID to narrow it down to the specific campaign you want them to have received (or not received).

To get the ID of a campaign, open that campaign in Mailchimp, and you'll see the ID in the URL:

Example 1: All people who received a specific campaign

Filter for:

  • Related activities: Number of activities, filtered further for 'Campaign ID is #####,' is greater than 0.

Example 2: All people who did not receive a specific campaign

Filter for:

  • Related activities: Number of activities, filtered further for 'Campaign ID is #####', is 0.

Action Summary

These are the results of various actions taken in Mailchimp and Beacon:




Subscribe in Mailchimp

Person record added in Beacon or updated if exact name + email match, with 'Email' in 'Contact consent' field

Unsubscribe in Mailchimp

'Email' removed from Beacon 'Contact consent' field for any contact with that email address

Contact archived or deleted in Mailchimp

'Email' removed from Beacon 'Contact consent' field for any contact with that email address

Name changed

No change to the record in Beacon

Email address changed

No change to record in Beacon (You should update in both systems)

Email campaign bounces

Moved to 'Cleaned' list in Mailchimp. No change to the record in Beacon.


Person exported to Mailchimp

Contact created (or updated) and subscribed to the chosen audience in Mailchimp

Person added in Beacon with 'Email' in 'Contact consent' field

Not automatically added to Mailchimp. You'll add them to Mailchimp when ready to send a campaign.

'Email' removed from Beacon 'Contact consent' field'

Unsubscribed from all monitored Mailchimp audiences

Person deleted or permanently deleted in Beacon

Contact will not be unsubscribed in Mailchimp (remove 'Email' before deleting if you want to unsubscribe them)
Read more about deleting records here

Name changed and person exported to Mailchimp

No change to the name in Mailchimp

Email address changed and person exported to Mailchimp

New contact created in Mailchimp (alternatively, update them in both systems)

Frequently asked questions

How do I send emails to people using legitimate interest?

We've got a comprehensive guide on how to manage your legitimate interest mailings with Mailchimp!

How should I structure my Mailchimp account/audiences?

Beacon works best with Mailchimp's recommendation to have one single audience for your contacts. You can then use tagging to easily segment them within that audience, using the vast information you have available in Beacon. You'll also avoid having contacts stored in many audiences (costing you more!), which helps to keep your data clean.

Mailchimp has a fabulous article about how to organise your audiences.

Tip: An exception to the above is if you need to send mass legitimate interest mailings (such as event or volunteer information). See our guide here.

I get some errors when exporting to Mailchimp, what are they?

Sometimes when you export people to Mailchimp, you will get errors that come back when the export is complete.

Mailchimp errors

Mailchimp doesn't tell us exactly what the errors were, but they are usually either:

  • 'Cleaned' emails that Mailchimp has already removed from your audience (bounced addresses)

  • Contacts that have been deleted or unsubscribed in Mailchimp so you aren't able to re-subscribe them. Advise any of these people to sign up to your Mailchimp list directly; it's the only way for them to be subscribed again. See Mailchimp's guide here.

  • If you have any 'Required' fields on your Mailchimp signup form (regardless of whether you use it) then Mailchimp won't allow new contacts to be added to your account without that data. Head to Audience > Signup forms > Form builder in Mailchimp and ensure that 'Email address' is the only required field.

What data comes from Mailchimp into Beacon when people subscribe to my Mailchimp audience?

The email address will always be imported into Beacon.

Additionally, we will bring in Mailchimp's standard "merge tags" when saving subscribers as people in your Beacon database:

  • FNAME (First name)

  • LNAME (Last name)

  • PHONE (Phone numbers)

  • ADDRESS (Address - Line 1, 2, City, Region, Postcode, and Country)

Note: If you've renamed your fields to have different merge tags, Beacon won't import the information from them. Ensure you keep the default merge tags in Mailchimp for these fields.

See Audience > All contacts > Settings > Audience fields & *|MERGE|* tags in Mailchimp for your merge tag settings.

What data goes Beacon into Mailchimp when I export people to an audience?

Beacon will just export basic information to Mailchimp when exporting, as these are the only fields that are universal across all Mailchimp accounts:

  • Email

  • First name (to the FNAME field)

  • Last name (to the LNAME field)

If you'd like to add additional information to Mailchimp (e.g. you want to use data for merge tags in a campaign), you can create an export template and then manually import into Mailchimp.

Note: If you've renamed your first/last name fields to have different merge tags, Beacon won't export first/last names. Ensure you keep FNAME and LNAME as your merge tags in Mailchimp.

See Audience > All contacts > Settings > Audience fields & *|MERGE|* tags in Mailchimp for your merge tag settings.

Can I re-add someone to a Mailchimp audience after they've been removed from the audience?

Yes, and no!

  • Unsubscribed by you
    Yes, you can resubscribe them by exporting from Beacon

  • Unsubscribed by the contact
    No, they will need to resubscribe directly to Mailchimp

  • Archived by you
    Yes, you can resubscribe (and therefore unarchive) them by exporting from Beacon

  • Deleted by you
    No, they will need to resubscribe directly to Mailchimp

Will contacts be added to Beacon if I bulk-import them into Mailchimp?

No, bulk imports into Mailchimp won't trigger the subscriber sync to Beacon. Instead, simply import them into Beacon afterwards!

Does Beacon log both Campaign and Mailchimp journey emails on the Person's timeline?

No. Beacon will only log the ad-hoc Campaign emails sent out. Automated Journey emails won't be logged.

Why does Mailchimp say my supporter has opted out but still subscribed?

Depending on your Mailchimp settings you may come across a contact in Mailchimp whose activity looks like the one below, where they are both opted-in AND opted-out:

Not to worry! This is expected behaviour, and the important thing here is that it doesn't affect the Beacon to Mailchimp integration.

Mailchimp has a couple of different ways of managing subscriber preferences;

You will only ever see the situation above if you're currently using #2; the GDPR Marketing preferences.

Since you're using Beacon to manage and store an individual's consent to email, you don't need to worry about storing that in Mailchimp as well.

If you'd like to stop seeing the above scenario, then you can simply disable the GDPR settings in Mailchimp - follow Mailchimp's guide for how to get there.

Can I still export to an audience if I don't monitor it?

Yes, absolutely! You'll still have access to export (whether manually or via workflows) to any audiences in your Mailchimp account, regardless of whether you're monitoring them.

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