Non profit Association

I run a non profit and I am looking for a Forum platform to be a part of our website. Today our members can only communicate via google groups which ends up being a dead hole of important conversations. I am looking for a platform that will allow conversation to take place via private email but still be stored on the platform. Is this possible with Discourse? Is discourse what I need? What else can we use this for other than conversations for Best Practices, info sharing, etc?


:grin: Discourse can certainly be used primarily via email, though I personally prefer the wider glimpse into topics available that working from the site allows.

The only two drawbacks to operating solely via email might be, in my opinion:

  1. the difficulty in distinguishing between topics available to everyone versus personal messages just from email notifications, and
  2. a lack of awareness when new topics of interest are initiated without having a user’s email notifications set to everything.

However, there might be solutions to both of these issues that I’m simply not aware of.

What other needs does your group have, @mdepasquale? Discourse has so many options and features available that you might find solutions to problems you did not even know you had. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Off the top of my head as a user, Discourse could provide your group with functionality for

  • mentoring
  • unit- or module-based learning
  • background communication
  • content curation
  • team-based project collaboration
  • easily shareable content mechanisms
  • resource building
  • community building
  • journaling
  • small group discussions
  • etc

Does any of that help? :sweat_smile:

ETA: @mdepasquale you might be interested in these two pages, if you have not investigated them already:

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Welcome, Mark. Discourse can indeed be run in mailing list mode.

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This is really helpful. I assume this is exactly how we would see discussions in our group…like this right here, correct?

Regarding the “lack of awareness”, would it be possible to activate a member of community to be notified of any conversations on any new topics underneath a specific heading?

With all of the other functions that you mention, would that all be in the same format of Discussion forums?


:+1: Correct.

For comparison, in case you don’t have your email notifications set up yet, this is how it looks in my email because I am “tracking” this topic and also have notifications set for direct replies:

Click for screenshot

You see that I had the option to reply by email.

I know that it is possible for the member to do this for their own account via Profile > Preferences > Categories.

I am not certain whether a member, mod, or admin can do this for another member. :confused:

They could be done in the general forum or categories. They could also work with personal messages (PMs), groups and group messages, wiki posts, email, using some of the available plug-ins, working with the Discourse team on customized plug-ins, etc.

I’m going to tag @pfaffman, who might have some more ideas or information for you. :+1:

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Thank You Very Much.


@mdepasquale If you own and/or run your own email server, you might also be interested in this:


Admins can do it two ways. They can add a category to default Watching or default watching first post in the site settings.

Admins can also set it per user through the account preferences for the user. I’ve had to do this before for a user who simply could not seem to get it to work and was getting very frustrated.

Moderators can see that section for other users, but not make changes.