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Talkin' Tech: Best Practices for Mass Email
Talkin' Tech page provides guidelines for:
Planning your Email
Make Sure your Message is Heard
Anti-Spamming Legislation Requirements

Does your department send email to groups of students or other persons?  It is critical that you follow best practices when sending email to large groups, so that:
  • Your emails reach the correct people
  • Your email is not identified as spam
  • Your actions are not violating current SPAM legislation
  • You avoid putting an extreme burden on the CCAC mail servers
  • Undeliverable mail is kept to a minimum

Use the instructions and links found on this page to improve your methods and techniques for emailing large groups.  (Our recommended method is to EMAIL MERGE, which personalizes your email.)

Click on any word in
red to see more information on that topic!

Planning your Email

Plan what you wish to say, and identify the audience to which you will be sending your message.
Audience Guidelines

Internal CCAC Employees Outlook Exchange Global Lists offer the ability to send to CCAC Admin, Faculty , Staff by location or across the College

Use this method ONLY when necessary. Use the CCAC Bulletin Board whenever possible, rather than broadcast emails to all users.

If you must broadcast an email to a large user community, keep you message simple. REFRAIN from using large attachments, which bog down the email system. Post your content to the CMS system, where appropriate, and include a link in the message to the webpage.

You may use Word to compose an attractive document, and use the File/Send to Recipient menu option so that employees can view all the attractive formatting.  Links to web pages actually work better when send via Word, instead of Outlook.  When sending within the Microsoft Exchange system, all formatting is preserved

When sending the email, include the Group Name (CCAC Staff) in the bcc: field, and send to yourself in the To: field.  This eliminates the further broadcasting of replies if the recipient inadvertently selects "Reply to All".

Do NOT use the Read-Receipt option for mass email; this generates excessive traffic on the network

Be specific in your subject.  Remember that many adjunct and part-time employees may not recognize your name or our common acronyms.  Your subject should clearly describe what your message will be, so that they are more likely to open it.

Students, Applicants, Prospects, Former Students, Alumni

Your list should be extracted from the Datatel database.  If you are requesting downloads through the ITS Operations Center, be sure to mention if you will be sending email with the list. 

The most efficient method for sending email to these groups is to use the Email Merge process.  Click here for a demonstration of the steps for EMAIL MERGE.

These emails will be sent to recipients OUTSIDE our Outlook Exchange System.  For this reason, many recipients may not have email programs that support html formats.  Do NOT use tables and special formatting in Word that will not be translated to non-html formats.  See below.


If you send to CCAC Faculty in our Outlook Exchange global lists, you will miss many adjunct faculty members.  To ensure that your message is received by all faculty with an email address, it is recommended that you download faculty lists with emails from the Datatel database.

Follow the other guidelines listed above under Students

ITS Staff can prepare your mailing list for you.  See the Colleague: Job Requests web page for procedures and an email template for submitting your request.

Make Sure your Message is  Heard

Check your list BEFORE you send via the Email Merge.  Below see a sample of an excel spreadsheet that was downloaded from Datatel.  It is important that you manage this list BEFORE you perform the mail merge.

1.Remove or fix obvious bad addresses (see yellow cells above).  REMEMBER to go to the person's record in Datatel and REMOVE or FIX the email address on the NAE screen.

2.Address students'/ applicants' preference for correspondence. Queries should include the Mail Preference (shown in BLUE above).  If there preference is PS (Postal Mail) or if they have no email address, you will need to send via Postal Mail

3.Do NOT send to anyone who has asked to unsubscribe from mailings.  Their Mail Code will appear as NM No Mail (see GREEN cells above).  You should always EXCLUDE these records from your queries.  (If you have requested lists from the ITS Ops Center, they will exclude these records whenever you specify that the list will be used for mailings (postal or email).

4.Provide the full address ( of any website that you want viewed via email.  If the non-Exchange recipient is not using an HTML email editor, they may not be able to view or access the website address.

5.Do not attach files to emails that are being sent to an non-Exchange recipient.  Attachments may force a user of a proprietary email service provider over the provider's email quota limit; therefore, the email will not reach the intended recipient.

6. Post additional content information to a website.  Important: the CMS system should only be used for documents that are appropriate for viewing by audiences outside the college.  Avoid uploading large documents to the CMS; convert toPDF whenever possible.

If you have files that you want an non-Exchange recipient to see, post them on your department's CMS website in a PDF format which requires full version of Adobe at additional cost.  However, you may use a free Electronic Document Converter, but it may not be as user friendly.  Keep in mind PDF is the desired file format because Adobe Reader is a free download (and generally comes installed on most computers); therefore, you will not have to worry about what word processing software a student has on their home computer.
7.Again, keep any non-Exchange emails simple.  Keep colors and font styles to a minimum and do not use table or pictures.  Remember that plain simple text can still deliver a powerful message and will reach all or the majority of your intended recipients

Click Below to See How a HTML edited CCAC Exchange Email appears to an non-Exchange Recipient:

Also, you may want to consult these best practices from these proprietary email service providers:

Anti-Spamming Legislation Requirements

Due to recent Anti-Spam Legislation, you must be aware of the following requirements and guidelines:


We must provide a disclaimer which states how we received their information, as well as an option for them to UNSUBSCRIBE from the list.   Please use the following disclaimer on broadcast email messages that are sent to an external audience:


If a person asks to be unsubscribed, your office must perform the following:
  • In Datatel, go to NAE, enter NM (No Mail) in the Mail Codes field.  (All queries run from Datatel should be designed to exclude all person records with the NM field in the Mail Codes field).   If you don't have access to NAE, contact Enrollment Services via email.

Specify your Subject clearly, so that recipients quickly recognize who the message is coming from.

Subject: CCAC Enrollment Services Grades Available on CCAC Central


More Information on Anti-Spamming Legislation:

The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business

Email Marketers Must Honor "Unsubscribe" Claims




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