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Internal mass e-mail resources and rationale

While mass email is an effective way to communicate with internal audiences, knowing how best to use it, when, and with what tools can sometimes be confusing. The following provides a brief explanation of resources available to University of Minnesota communicators and guidelines for effective use of internal mass email.

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Internal Mass Email and Communications Planning

As with all communications, proper planning is essential to ensure the success of internal mass email. While communicators and others often spend a great deal of time planning and producing print pieces, the same amount of rigor is sometimes lacking in email communications. As such, the relatively low cost and immediacy of sending mass email can actually be a detriment to the success of communications efforts. As with all communications, it is important to be intentional and strategic about the use of mass email. Questions to consider include: 

  • Why send a mass email?
  • Are there other ways of communicating that might work better?
  • Who are the intended recipients of the email?
  • Are there ways to narrow the audience pool to ensure that only those people who need to know are contacted?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of your communication?
  • When should the email be sent?
  • How does the email work with other communications initiatives? Print? Web? Brief announcements?

Guidelines for Internal Mass Emails

Internal mass emails are governed by email standards as defined by University Relations. Visit the Mass Email Requirements and Guidelines section of the Our Brand site for more information.

Sending Mass Internal Email through University Relations

If you would like to send a mass internal email to a large audience (e.g., all students, faculty, and/or staff) using Lyris, all requests must now be directed to University Relations. Use of the U’s mass internal email system is governed by the following principles:

  • The email must pertain to a majority of the desired recipients.
  • The email must relate to a University service, policy, event, program, or opportunity.
  • The information should be deemed critical enough to distribute to the entire audience.

To request the sending of a mass internal email through University Relations, you will need the approval of a University vice president or vice provost. Contact your office or unit’s communications staff to initiate this request. If it is determined by your staff communicator that a mass email is appropriate, that person will contact University Relations to schedule your email. Please provide University Relations at least one week’s notice to process your email request.

Lyris for Internal Mass Email Needs

The Administrative Email Lists were created in 2009 to replace the Deans, Directors, Department Heads (DDD) list. The AEL, built using job code queries, are designed to be an effective way to communicate with University administrators, deans, directors, and department heads. Pulling data from job codes ensures that the information we use is current, centrally maintained, and helps to eliminate list duplication. The AEL is the University’s primary email solution for administrative communications.

University Relations manages most emails to the AEL list. If you would like to send to the AEL, work with the senior communicator in your college or unit to make the request to University Relations.

The AEL listservs have been discontinued.

If you have questions about the AEL, contact

Generating Mass Mail and Email Lists

Using UM Reports, units can create their own campus mail or email lists. This tool gives units the ability to customize a mailing list to best suit the individual needs of each mailing; e.g., campus, active appointments only, specific colleges, full/part time, employee group, appointment term exclusions, etc. Please refer to HRMS Business Process: Custom Campus Mailings & Email Lists (PDF) and familiarize yourself with the restrictions of the tool and the University guidelines for producing mass communications.

A note about VIP email: To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our mass internal email processes, the VIP email process was discontinued effective March 1, 2013.

For more information: For questions about mass internal email contact