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Bulk Email FAQ


Who should sign my request?

If you are a faculty member or an employee, have your department head or director sign the request. If you are a student, have the faculty advisor for your student group or project sign the request, or Student Organization Services if you are requesting a mailing for a student club or organization.  If your request involves any type of Business Activity, per University Policy #4501, requester must have the request form signed by John Knight, Assistant Vice President of Finance. (Example would be fundraising events, or any activity that requires a fee.) 

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Where do I send my request?

It depends on whether you plan a mailing to students, to employees or to both. For a mailing to students, send the request to the Registrar's Office, MSC 3528 or fax at 568-5615. For a mailing to employees, send the request to Human Resources, MSC 7009 or fax at 568-7916. Then they will fax the approved request to IT Technical Services - Operations Team. 

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What is the status of my request?

For a mailing to students, call the Operations Team (568-3502) or email request-bulkmail@jmu.edu. For a mailing to employees, call Human Resources (568-3967) or email humanresources@jmu.edu

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Why are some requests NOT approved?

  • It did not follow rules of thumb (see "what basic rules of thumb" below).
  • There is a better method for JMU to communicate this, such as a web site.
  • The mailing does not conform to requirements in Policy 1209, Electronic Messaging.
  • If the timing of the request and the event are so close together that the request cannot be processed within the required time frame, the request will be denied.  The mailing form indicates “Please allow nine working days for mailing, approval, and processing.”

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Where do I send the message for a bulk email?

Send the message to request-bulkmail@jmu.edu.  Be sure to also attach a copy of the message text to the bulk request form.

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What qualifies as "informational" vs. "official" bulk e-mail?

Informational E-mail:

  • Is not personal in nature, and;
  • Does not solicit funds, and;
  • Does not sell products (this means that personal sales of items would not qualify while sales of university items, such as those sold in the bookstore, would qualify), and;
  • Is of general university-wide interest, and;
  • Does not qualify as "Official" University Bulk E-mail (see below)

Official University Bulk E-mail:

  • Originates from the office of the President or one of the Senior Vice Presidents, or;
  • Originates from the office of the Associate Vice President of University Communications and Marketing, or;
  • Concerns a significant issue that directly affects the majority of the targeted recipients, or;
  • Concerns a major, university-wide event; or
  • (For mail to students) Originates from an academic or administrative unit head

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What are the most common bulk e-mail mistakes?

  1. Not submitting the message text in the proper format.  The message text may be submitted either in the body of an email message or as a Microsoft Word attachment.
  2. Forgetting to send the text of the bulk email to request-bulkmail@jmu.edu.
  3. Not spell checking the message. request-bulkmail@jmu.edu accepts no responsibility in proofreading messages.
  4. Not submitting the request far enough in advance to allow for processing.
  5. Filling out the form improperly by leaving off required information.
  6. Not using a valid @jmu or @dukes.jmu email address in the From or Reply To addresses.

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Why must I request so far in advance?

Mailing, reviewing and processing are involved to meet your deadline.

  1. Mail requests usually require several days because of the signatures needed.
  2. Reviewing is necessary because of the University policy which requires central approvals for mass mailings.
  3. Processing the growing number of daily requests requires system time to identify those who will receive the mailing, confirmation of whether the mailings are official or informational, and, then, scheduling the mailings into the daily systems work schedule.
  4. If the number of students selected at runtime is significantly different than the number expected to be selected as indicated on the form, the operations staff will contact you to determine if your criteria is correct, and whether data such as matriculation, graduation, or housing, is available yet.

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How can I get faster turnaround?

  1. If required information is missing from the form, the process can be delayed.
  2. Mailing time can be shortened if you fax or personally delivered your request.
  3. Review time can be shortened if you write your request as clearly as possible.
  4. Processing time can be shortened by making sure that the data you selected is available by the time you wish to mail.
  5. The request will be delayed if necessary signatures and approvals are missing when you submit the request.  If your bulk e-mail request involves any type of Business Activity, per University Policy #4501, requester must have the request form signed by John Knight, Assistant Vice President of Finance. (i.e. fundraising events, or any activity that requires a fee.)  If your bulk e-mail request involves a survey related to research on human subjects, you must provide the IRB (Institutional Review Board) number assigned to the study.  Requests initiated for student clubs and organizations must be approved by Student Organization Services.


Why am I missing students on my mailing?

If you have a large number of students missing (or added), it is most likely due to timing. That is, you have requested matriculated students before the deposit deadline; you have requested residents or commuters before the housing area has completed room assignments; or the final number selected will vary greatly from the number anticipate.

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What are the "basic email rules of thumb"?

In order to control costs, and to keep JMU generated emails from becoming so voluminous they are ignored, like junk mail, here are some rules of thumb:

  • Target the smallest relevant population
  • Do not send reminders or repeat messages (We will allow for one reminder if the bulk email is related to a research project.)
  • Do not send attachments, due to their size
  • Refer to a web site to convey a lot of information effectively
  • Only use @jmu or @dukes.jmu email address and JMU or affiliated websites on the form and within the text of the email

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Will you proofread my email message?

No! No one will change your message - even if it has spelling, grammar, date or other errors. You are completely responsible. IT will send your message exactly as it is received.

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Will every email be delivered?

IT cannot guarantee all emails will be delivered.  Reasons may be due to disc quotas, forwarding or other issues.

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How can I email lots of information?

Your message can refer to web sites where you have posted the detailed information in a more readable form.

Here is a good example:


Your scores on the Voter Awareness test are now available at the secure web site http://www.votertest.org. You can get a full explanation of this test and see the nation-wide results at http://www.thetestcompany.org. Select Tests, then Awareness.

You may take the test again at http://www.testcompare.com anytime before August 1 and get instant comparison of your score with others from JMU or from your home state.

If you have questions contact our student liaison, Suzanne Fosler, at foslersz@jmu.edu or 568-4444.

JMU Voter Awareness Center
Taylor Hall, Room 801

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How is random sampling done?

The IRB (Institutional Review Board) number must be included on bulk-mail requests for surveys related to human research studies. 

The algorithm for drawing a random sample was upgraded in October 2007.  It now uses an Oracle feature called dbms_random.value to generate random numbers.  In detail, the process:   (1) Extracts the entire population meeting your criteria  (2) Assigns a random number to each  (3) Sorts that population by the random number  (4) Selects the number of people you requested from the top of that list. 

Institutional Research has statistically verified the randomness of this sampling technique.  Sample groups are proportionally representative of the population you selected.  For example, if you desire a sample of 600 of enrolled undergraduates, the percentage of freshmen in the sample should be very close to the headcount figures published by Institutional Research. See statistical summaries at: http://www.jmu.edu/jmuweb/fs/administration.shtml.  If you have questions regarding the statistical summary information, please contact Institutional Research at ask-OIR@jmu.edu.

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