Email Lists

Don’t send emails with the list of all addressees “in the open” — in the To: field.  This is generally considered rude and invasive of peoples’ privacy.  If your group is more than 7 people, use some sort of software solution that permits optouts and unsubscribes, and hides addresses.

For a small Society email list, especially for discussion, you can use something like Google Groups or Yahoo Groups for simplicity.  Management is taken care of by the provider, and senders take care of formatting the emails.  If your website provider has the option, you can also use Mailman.

  • Mailman: or other list that comes with your website’s package.  See your website provider for options.
  • Google Groups
  • Yahoo Groups

For better management of your communications, however, you’ll want to use a mailing list service like MailChimp (often the cheapest option) or Constant Contact for “email blasts” — emailsthat include announcements, etc.  There may be a learning curve to get the emails to look right, but it’s worth it.  Advantages:

  • meets legal privacy standards allowing people to leave the list of their own volition (you get a report if you want it so you can diplomatically inquire as to why people leave)
  • better formatting means more people read the contents
  • you can find out how many people actually open the emails, and even how many click links within the email — this is important to test whether your mailings are successful

Don’t get too fancy, or make your headers (logo and all) too large, or people won’t scroll down to the real message.

Don’t forget to do “succession planning” and make sure that if your list manager leaves, someone else can take over the mailings gracefully.

If you have a discussion email list, have behavior expectations or standards worked out ahead of time; have a moderator who will gracefully and firmly enforce such standards.