Longs Peak Council
Boy Scouts of America
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.
(This document has evolved from a presentation by the Council webmaster to the Council professional staff in Feb, 2007. Expanded October 2012)
Last Updated Wednesday, 17-Oct-2012 10:14:56 CDT