Service Desk

Information Technology Services

Mass Mail Guidelines

A broadcast message is an email that is sent to one or more campus-wide email distribution lists maintained by Information Technology Services. Such lists contain the email addresses of every member of a campus-wide constituent group, e.g., all students, faculty, staff, auxiliaries, etc.  A large mailing to a subset of one or more of these constituent groups, e.g., individuals in a specific college or department, users of a particular campus service, etc., should follow the procedure for large mailings.  Bypassing this process by sending multiple copies of the same message to different subsets of a constituent group is not permitted if the intent and result are the same as sending a broadcast message.

MustMail is a mass communications application developed by Cal Poly Corporation for use by Cal Poly communicators. The application was designed to utilize existing Cal Poly resources and services to provide a simple mechanism for sending and managing small and large-scale email communications while being flexible to allow for growth and expansion over time. Learn more by visiting MustMail Support.

Getting Approval

  1. Make sure the message meets the criteria for sending a broadcast mailing.
  2. All requests must be approved in advance by the appropriate vice president. Written approval via email must be included with the request or forwarded separately to
  3. Submit a broadcast mailing request to ITS Management for review and approval with the following information:
    • Target audience, e.g., faculty, staff, students, etc.
    • Departmental account (email address) to use to send the message and receive replies
    • Date for sending the message
    • Contact information for the person sending the message
    • Proposed message subject line
    • Proposed message
  4. A limited number of campus entities have been pre-approved to send specific types of broadcast mailings. A separate process will be followed for pre-approved mailings.  Campus-wide mailing lists are for official university business only; any misuse or abuse may result in this delegation of authority being revoked.
  5. ITS Management will review the request and notify you when the request is approved or denied. If denied, specific reasons will be given in writing.
  6. If information is missing or further clarification is needed, the requester will be contacted by phone or in writing.
  7. If approved, the request will be forwarded to the email support group to set up the permissions required for the chosen account to send to the appropriate campus-wide mailing lists.
  8. The email support group will be available to walk you through the process of preparing and sending the mailing.
  9. Requests for approval must be submitted at least two (2) working days in advance of the proposed send date.
  10. If the message is urgent, the request must be received by 12:00 pm (noon) on the day the message is to be sent to give ITS time to process the request during normal business hours. A request received after that time may not be processed until the next working day.

A broadcast message will be approved as “urgent” if the timing and circumstances are such that the requester could not have reasonably predicted the message had to be sent that day (e.g., the information was not known earlier), the campus is required to send it that day (e.g., by the CSU Chancellor’s Office), and/or it is critical that the information be delivered before the next business day (e.g., it refers to an event/deadline the next day).

Sending the message

  1. Determine who will actually send the message. This person must have login access to the account that has been approved to send the mailing. The email support group cannot send a message on your behalf from a user or departmental account.
  2. Login to the approved email account using the Office 365 Web Client to create, format and send the message.
  3. Follow the minimum requirements to properly create and format the message. It is a good idea to send a test copy of the message to your own account to make sure it is properly formatted, before sending the final version. The email support group can help you format and test the message if desired.
  4. The email support group will require a test message be sent from the sending account to the analyst processing the request. Once the analyst has verified the content of the message, the analyst will respond with the name of the campus-wide mailing list to insert in the TO: field.
  5. Obtain the address of the appropriate campus-wide mailing list from the email support group. This address will be placed in the TO: field of the message.  
  6. If the same mailing is going to students AND employees, you will need to send two separate messages. This is necessary to minimize the impact on the university email system.
  7. Once approved, messages to employee distribution lists may be sent at any time on the proposed send date.
  8. Messages to the student distribution list should be sent no later than 3:30 pm so the email support group has sufficient time to process and monitor the mailing during normal working hours.

Handling Auto-Reply Messages

It is recommended that a mail filter is created when sending mailings which include Cal Poly students. This filter will prevent your account from being overwhelmed with auto-reply messages. A typical broadcast mailing to the students will generate approximately 3,000 auto-reply messages. Mailings to staff and faculty will create approximately 100 auto-reply messages. 

Verify that the message was sent correctly

  1. After sending the message, if there was an error, you will receive a message back from the MAILER-DAEMON explaining the nature of the error.
  2. Within a few minutes, you should begin to receive auto-reply messages based on any filters you have set.
  3. If you are a member of the mailing list, watch for receipt of your copy of the message.

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