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Longs Peak Council

Boy Scouts of America

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ScoutMail Policies & Guidelines

* What Is The Problem?

  • We want Happy, Informed Volunteers - Customer Service.
  • Communication is Key - ScoutMail is a valuable and convenient way to communicate.
  • Our current ScoutMail is free, but if we abuse it, we could lose it, and alternatives are expensive.

  • SPAM is prevalent and poeple don't like it.
  • If we send too much ScoutMail our customers will "opt out" or ignore it.
  • Aggressive spam filters prevent some messages from reaching subscribers.
  • If reported as SPAM, we can be blocked from large numbers of our subscribers. In spring 2006, we were blocked from over 100 of our subscribers at AOL, etc for 5 weeks. (We have also had a couple lesser incidents since then.)
    • We were close to losing ScoutMail entirely!
    • Not just us - All accounts at our host were blocked!
    • Host worked with AOL, others.
    • We quickly (not easy) changed way we send messages to critical domains, with subscribers email in the footer.

* Don't Be Like SPAM - Use Discretion!

  • Use sparingly (more details below).
  • Keep Messages Clear, Concise and Consistent (more details below).
  • Don't SHOUT - don't use ALL CAPS in title or body of message.
  • Avoid excessive punctuation !!!!!

* Issue - Too Many Emails

  • Send information most recipients would want to know about.
    • Include a couple sentences of Promotion to explain why they might/should be interested.
  • Use sparingly for non-trivial Council- and District-related information
    • Scoutmail must be directly related to Scouting in our Council/Districts
    • Do not use ScoutMail to solicit for other organizations or for unit events.
  • Do not send repeated reminders about the same event:
    • Send a note when the event details are available on the council or district website. Ideally, have registration available when info is posted.
    • Optional - if registration opens at a later date, send a note when registration is opened.
    • Optional - send a reminder about a week before the registration deadline, or before the event if no registration is required.
  • If event is new or unique (ie not a regularly-scheduled event):
    • Send general (brief) promotion and "New Event - Save the Date" note when the event is first added to the calendar.
  • Do no use for "serials" (eg 15 days of recruiting).
  • Target Info to Right Audience
    • Appropriate Use of City or District Selectors
    • If a mis-match might be perceived, explain why message is being sent to this group (eg district invited to adjacent district's event, or Boy Scouts invited to Venturing event).
    • Do not use ScoutMail for smaller target audience:
      • Event organizers should maintain list of registrants or unit contacts, and use that list to send details about the event.
      • Council or district committee chairs should maintain list of committee members to email directly.
      • Eg, Council Scoutmail seeking candidates for Wood Badge Course Director.
  • Avoid re-sending info which someone else already sent out:
    • Everyone sending ScoutMail should be on "Always Mail" List. Check before you send.
    • Districts should not send ScoutMails about BSA or Council info/events (remind the Council to do it instead).
    • Don't ask multiple people to send the info.

* Consistent / Clear / Concise

  • Use a clear Subject
    • District ScoutMails should include District name or initials in Subject:
      Do - "Rocky Mountain Roundtable this Thursday"
      Not - "Roundtable this Thursday"
  • Include the "Source" of the info in the From: and Email: fields so users can Reply to that person for more information.
  • Include a little promotion in the message to explain why they might/should be interested.
  • Verify the info and dates - Get it right the first time to avoid follow-up ScoutMails.
  • Avoid long messages:
    • Post details on the web site (use PDF posting if necessary). Also make info easy to find on website: a temporary note/link in the appropriate News section of the district/council home page, linked from appropriate calendar.
    • Include the link in your email for more details (wait to send the ScoutMail until the details have been posted, then have the webmaster send the ScoutMail).
  • Do not use ScoutMail for information which should be kept available for reference (post on the website as above and have a permanent link from appropriate topic page on website).
  • Use District ScoutMail, not Council ScoutMail, for district reminders/events.
  • Reminder - Follow Youth Protection (no youth full names or youth contact info) and privacy policies (permission for adult contact info).

* Issue - We're Still Not Reaching Many Units and Leaders

  • Get Someone Subscribed from Every Unit (Help from DC and Commissioners!) (Friendly Competition?)
  • See your district Admin page for by-unit subscriber info.
  • Subscriber List needs pruning (Council Registrar or Assistant).
  • Stale subscriber unit info? - Periodic emails to subscribers with their subscription info and link to update. (webmaster enhancement)

* Process Consistency / Improvement

  • Make sure anyone sending ScoutMail knows policies and guidelines.
  • Accountability. Individual ID/passwords for ScoutMail Send access. Do not share your login.
  • Training for staff, new DE's.
  • Training for new webmasters.
  • Feedback.

(This document has evolved from a presentation by the Council webmaster to the Council professional staff in Feb, 2007. Expanded October 2012)

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Last Updated Wednesday, 17-Oct-2012 10:14:56 CDT