To keep mass email effective, it has to be targeted – meaning, professionally relevant to the majority of recipients. Sending messages that are not relevant to thousands of individuals is a waste of their valuable time and erodes the usefulness of broadcast emails (also known as mass emails) as many recipients will filter it and often disregard it altogether.

Below are resources for the two main types of email communication.

Mass Email Distribution

Outlook Distribution Groups

A number of ready-made distribution groups are accessible via Outlook that might be a good match for your internal target audience, alone or in combination. When you access the Global Address Book in Outlook and type, for instance, "SOM," you will see a long list of SOM distribution lists. If you see one that you think might match your target audience, right-click on the name to verify the list's properties and members.

The main advantages of distribution groups are the ability to access through the Global Address Book and to send secure emails.


UCSF also has role-based administrative listservs. These are primarily for central administration use for dissemination of policy and need-to-know information.

The main advantages of listservs are the ability to add external subscribers and support web archiving of messages.

Do's and Don'ts for Mass Emailing

  • Do not attempt to use school-wide / UCSF-wide mass email lists, unless you know for sure your message is relevant to at least a large majority of recipients.
  • Do not send reminders. Instead, use other channels to catch people’s attention, i.e., flyers, posters, news digests, online groups, social media.
  • Do make sure to send your email from an email address that's a credible source. If the email is sent on behalf of a group, consider using a resource account for that group rather than the personal address of the sender.
  • Do use subject lines that get to the point. For example, rather than "Only 2 weeks left to submit," an effective subject line would be "Apply for Bridge funding – deadline August 15."
  • Do keep the email short and concise with a link to your website and/or the campus calendar for any further details,
  • Do proofread your message carefully and have it reviewed by the appropriate authority before sending it. A second message with corrections looks unprofessional and is a nuisance to the recipient.
  • Do not send attachments, if possible. Instead, send a Box or website link.

More information on UCSF email best practices »


Email Newsletters

Basics and Registration

E-newsletters are generally sent on a regular basis, with a focused theme or subject area. There are dozens of existing newsletters at UCSF, so before you start a new publication, consider the following questions:

  • Does my target audience want this e-newsletter? Are they already overwhelmed by email, and if so, is there a better way to get their attention?
  • Is there already an effective e-newsletter that reaches my target audience, and could I partner with them to get out my messsages?
  • Does my group have enough content to regularly send an e-newsletter?
  • Do I have the staff resources to produce a high-quality, accessible e-newsletter?

Once you decide to pursue an e-newsletter, you must register it with IT to ensure successful delivery in the UCSF email system.

See the database of all UCSF e-newsletters »

Register a new e-newsletter »

Constant Contact

If you have an email newsletter, you may want to create a Constant Contact account under UCSF’s partnership plan, which offers a 40% discount when your group prepays annually. General pricing is based on your individual account’s needs, from the number of subscribers you have to the level of service you require. Please keep in mind that you will be responsible for maintaining your own email lists, account administration, and payments. To begin, fill out this form.

If you have any questions about Constant Contact, we encourage you to browse their website, including their comprehensive Knowledge Base. They have a number of QuickStart Guides and Video Tutorials to help get you started.


Alternative Ways to Promote Your News and Events

1)  Write an announcement for the relevant UCSF website.

  • Contact the communicators manager for the appropriate school or department website.
  • For UCSF-wide announcements, submit a story to the Campus News page of Learn more about submission guidelines

3)  For events, create a listing on the UCSF Events Calendar. All events promoted through the main website of Pulse Today newsletter are sourced through the UCSF Events Calendar.

4)  Promote via relevant social media accounts. Keep in mind that most social media accounts are meant to be public-facing, so if your item is a mostly internal announcement, keep it on internal-facing channels.

5)  Create an ad for UCSF digital signs, managed by Campus Life Services.