Distribution List FAQ

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This is a list of commonly asked questions pertaining to situations in Axiom surrounding email distribution lists.

Who can send an email to a distribution list?

An email must pass two security checks to ensure a user has permission to use Veracross distribution lists:

Security Check #1: You must send an email from the account that is listed in the “Email 1” or “Email 2” field on your person record in Veracross. You cannot send a message from an email account, unless the account is listed here. For most users, this will be your school email account. As an example: if your Email 1 is listed as ‘johnsmith@veracross.com’ and your Email 2 is blank, you must send an email from your ‘johnsmith@veracross.com’ email account. If you send an email from an account that is not listed in Email 1 or Email 2 (e.g. jsmith@gmail.com), your email will be blocked and will not be sent out.

Security Check #2: If your email has passed the first security check, you must then have permission to send email to distribution lists. If a user does not meet one of the following two criteria, the email will not send. People with access to distribution lists include:

  • all users with a Staff and/or Faculty person role
  • anyone with the system profile code “Allow Access to Distribution Lists”

Denying Staff and Faculty from Using Distribution Lists

There is a system profile code called “Deny Access to Distribution Lists” that will prevent a user from sending to distribution lists, even if they would otherwise have access (e.g, they are faculty or staff). In the bad-data situation that the person has both the ‘deny’ and ‘allow’ profile codes, the ‘deny’ one wins.

This can be used instead of clearing a person’s email address to prevent sending, especially in the case that the person’s email account was compromised and is sending out spam.

What is the maximum email size that can be sent?

The total size of an email that can be sent is 8 MB or less, which would include all attachments.

Does the CC field work as expected?

Yes. The CC field will allow users to carbon-copy the email being sent to users outside of the distribution list. Note this this functionality works both for System Groups and School-Defined groups.

Should we use BCC?

Do not use BCC when sending to a group distribution list. If group distribution emails are sent via BCC, it will fail. To be precise: BCC works if only ONE SINGLE distribution list is in the BCC field. If multiple distribution lists are in BCC, only one of the lists in the BCC field will be sent. The distribution list alias, and the other recipients, are always hidden from the recipient of a distribution list email because Veracross distribution lists send one email per recipient.

Who will the email come from?

An email sent via a distribution list will come from the sender’s name with m@veracross.com. The sender’s name will be listed as the Nickname/Last Name we have on file in Veracross (or First Name/Last Name if no nickname is present). For example:

From: “John Smith” <m@veracross.com>
Reply-To: “John Smith” <johnsmith@host.com>

The email is sent from m@veracross.com both for e-mail security purposes and to decrease the likelihood a spam filter would block it.

Is there any way to guarantee that a person won’t receive any emails?

The only absolute guarantees are either (a) if a Date of Death is entered, deceased persons will always be skipped in distribution lists, or (b) If email_1 is blank, that person cannot receive any emails through Veracross. Those are the only absolute guarantees.

Setting “Preferred Communication method” to “Paper” will remove a person from Group-based email distribution lists; therefore “Preferred Communication Method” does control most distribution list mailings; however, “email parents of student” and other synthetic distribution lists like that will always email the parent if they are not deceased and if email_1 is populated in the database.

Note that none of those rules apply when using composer; composer will email based on whatever recipient list is chosen regardless of other data points.

Can parents use a distribution list?

By default, no, parents do not have permission to send emails to a distribution list. If you want a parent to be able to use a distribution list, add the “Allow Access to Distribution Lists” profile code to their record and send them the email address of the distribution list(s) they need to be able to email.

*Note: It is not possible to give parents (or anyone else) access to specific distribution lists only. This means parents would be able to email any distribution list they had an email address for if they had the “Allow Access to Distribution Lists” profile code added to their record.

Can I send to multiple distribution lists at once?

Yes. In addition, the mail server will attempt to be smart and make sure everyone only receives one email, even if they are on multiple distribution lists.

When do “Email Parents Of…” distribution lists work, and when do they not work?

Any of the per-student “Email Parents Of…” distribution lists (“Email Parents,” “Email Parents and Student”) will include parents of any: Student, Prospect, Applicant, Future Student, Program Student, or Applicant-Former (if applying for the current year or the future). Other roles will not include the parents in the “Email Parents Of…” distribution lists. For example, the parents of a Cold Prospect will not be included in any “Email Parents” distribution list for that child. If the person doesn’t have the above roles, these distribution lists will not be functional.

If a person has both Development and Admissions security roles and they send an email, is the email traced as an Admissions event or a Development event?

If a user has both Development and Admissions security roles and sends and email, the email will be tracked as a Development event.

Can I send to distribution lists and non-distribution lists at the same time, and what happens when I do?

Yes, however, the Veracross mail server will only send mail for ‘@mail.veracross.com’ addresses (i.e. Veracross distribution lists). Emails to any other address (e.g. hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etc.) will go through the mail servers for those domains. For example, gmail will send mail to gmail addresses, hotmail will send mail to hotmail addresses, etc.. This is no different than if you simply sent one email to a Gmail address and a Hotmail address from your inbox.

However, this means three things:

  1. If the email has merge fields, those fields will NOT be merged for the recipients that were listed apart from the distribution list.
  2. The message will NOT be tracked for these additional individuals, even if their email address exists for a person in the database. Only recipients in the distribution list will have the email tracked.
  3. Extra recipients WILL see the distribution list alias(es) included on the email (see What happens if a person hits Reply All).

What happens if a person hits ‘Reply All’ to a distribution list email?

If a person hits ‘Reply’ or ‘Reply All’ to an email they received from a distribution list, their response will be emailed directly to the sender only. If a person tries to copy the distribution list from their email and send it, they will be prevented from sending the message if they do not have permission to use distribution lists (see Who can send an email to a distribution list).

How can I test an email for a distribution list?

You can send an email to school.test@mail.veracross.com substituting your school short name for the word ‘school’ to verify how the email will look and make sure any merge fields work properly. By sending an email to the test address for your school, your email will be run through the mail processor, have any merge fields that were in the email merged against the sender’s person record and email it back to the original sender. Read more about sending a test email.

** Note: you MUST have permission to send to distribution lists to use this feature. (see Who can send an email to a distribution list).

Who can see the emails I’ve sent? What about emails that other people have sent?

Answer: Users are able to see their own sent emails, but not those sent by others. Users with the following security roles can see all emails:

  • Admissions_1, Admissions_2, Division_Head_0, Division_Head_1, Division_Head_2, Division_Head_3, Communications_ADMIN, SysAdmin

How can I track an email in the database without using a distribution list?

If a user wishes to track opens/clicks in emails for one or more people and they do not use a distribution list, they should CC or BCC: <yourschool_shortname>.tracking@mail.veracross.com to log the email on the recipient's person record.

For Admissions_1 users, the email is logged as an individual event with the event category ADM:Email Sent.
For Development_1 users, the email is logged as an individual event with the event category DEV:Email Sent.
For users with other security roles, the email is logged as an individual event with the event category OTHER:Email Sent.

Emails are tracked for any person in Veracross whose Email_1 matches one of the recipient addresses. Emails sent through a distribution list are already logged by default. Do NOT use the tracking email address when sending email to a distribution list. Note that you do not need to have distribution list access to track emails with <yourschool_shortname>.tracking@mail.veracross.com.

Can I use a distribution list to send an email from another website like Evite or email an article or blog post?

It depends on the website. Because of the way the mail server validates distribution list access, you must know the exact email address that the email will be coming from, and that email address must have permission to email distribution lists, either by person role (faculty or staff user) or by profile code (Allow Access to Distribution Lists). Some websites that allow you to email content to others send the email from an account whose address you will not know ahead of time. If you do not know the email address that the message will be sent from, you will not be able to email a VC distribution list. If you DO know the email address your message will be sent from, you can send an email using another website if this email address is entered in Veracross as the sender’s Email 1 or Email 2 address and the sender has permission to email distribution lists.

Does the mail server use the “Email 2” field?

For authentication, yes. In other words, when determining if a person has access to send to a distribution list, the system will check both Email 1 and Email 2. However, when delivering emails, the system will ONLY send email to the Email 1 address. Distribution lists never send email to addresses in the Email 2 field.

Why is there a “~” symbol on the Class Email alias?

Previously, the syntax for class distribution list aliases was schoolname.c_<classid>@mail.veracross.com (e.g. veracrossacademy.c_893@mail.veracross.com). This caused problems when schools re-used class ids from prior years. The mail server was often unable to resolve duplication between the current year and next year.

In order to ensure that the class email distribution alias is unique for each class, the syntax has been changed to schoolname_c.<internalclassid>~<classid>(.s, .p or .staff)@mail.veracross.com (e.g. veracrossacademy.c_359~hrm1.s@mail.veracross.com).

Can Emoji icons be used in emails?

Emoji icons are supported in Composer emails.