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  • Paul Adams

Creating Private Email Groups

An alternative to using BCC for undisclosed recipients.

Businesses, charities, schools and voluntary organizations use email groups all the time. There are various ways to email groups of people. Here are two..

  1. Use regular email and put the recipients email addresses in the BCC fields so their names and address are not exposed to everyone.

  2. Use a templated marketing type email service, such as the hugely popular Groupmail or Mailchimp

Both of these have worked for eons, and they each have their benefits and drawbacks. Before I excitedly talk about an alternative, it’s important to say that there is nothing wrong with these two options, it’s just that they don’t work for everybody.

Using Regular Email with BCC

It’s easy to make a mistake, right? There are plenty of serious examples where email address have been put into the “To” field and not “Bcc”. People's email addresses have been exposed and the damage to your recipients and your organization's reputation is very real. Underestimate the risk of a mistake like this at your peril.

Aside from the risk of a mistake, recipients can see that you are using the Bcc method - and some may not approve. While a "normal" email might be exactly what you want to send, you may need to put your own email address in the “To” field which gives away your method and can look a bit strange.

Sometimes you want recipients to know who which groups the email was sent to. For example, you might want your colleagues to know that you sent it to all all your clients, their account managers and the CEO. That's not easy unless you write it in the body of the email.

And, of course, there are problems of administration. If someone asks to be removed from the email list, it’s a task. And if you want to share management of the list, or want someone else to be able to email the group … well, it’s not always straightforward.

Using Mailer Services and templates

These are great. Sign-up, add your members to a mailing list, and create emails using a template. These services automatically add unsubscribe options for the recipients and they do all the heavy lifting of ensuring compliance with the various and growing list of privacy laws around the world.

However, creating emails with templates takes some planning, a little skill and a bit of time. The final result can look like a marketing email which may reduce the readership and might not be appropriate for you audience.

Using regular email whilst improving privacy

In some cases, you just want a mailing list, something like which you can put in the “To” field and write a normal email knowing that privacy is maintained. For some people their email service allows this, but for many the ability to do this can be very difficult or result in the accidental exposure of everyone's email addresses. There are not that many options available to you if this is what you want to achieve.

That is why GroupSend came to life. We originated from a British voluntary organization that needed to send emails to members whilst requesting consent to join and ensuring privacy for everyone. The idea is to achieve exactly what is set out above; create a group with its own email address, add members, then email as normal.

Along the way we added…

  • Automatic consent requests sent to every member of the email group.

  • Shared administration, even if the others who we want to email the group don’t use the same email service.

  • Security. Only nominated people can email the group. Anyone else who tries to use it gets blocked.

  • Unsubscribe so that members can remove themselves from the email group.

  • Email address protection. Every sender has their private email address masked with one we generate, so if an email is forwarded on without thinking about the privacy implications, their real email address is not compromised.

  • Keep the other administrators in the loop… group emails are automatically copied to each of the group administrators. A summary of the distribution list is included at the top of the email.

  • No "reply all". It’s not possible for recipients to "reply-all" to emails, as their email does not include everyone elses details.

We make improvements every month, and it’s turning out to be a useful tool that saves time, protect privacy and provides an alternative to using BCC or templated email services. We are very proud of it, and it’s used by social care services, voluntary organizations and businesses for all sorts of different reasons.

Try it out for free. Tell us what you think and what you would like us to add. We’re always keen to improve ways people communicate.