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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Massmail Questions

Who will receive a Massmail?

Massmails target specific audiences that are defined by the Division of Management Information. Massmails can target any or all of the audiences depending on the nature of the message. For more information about the audiences please see Data Details.

Can I remove myself from the Massmail mailing list?

No. By enrolling as a student and/or taking a job with the University, you inherently agree to accept unsolicited communications from academic advisors, administration and/or professional supervisors. This includes Massmail.

How can I recognize a Massmail?

Most all Massmails will start with "MASSMAIL - " in the subject line. The only exception to this rule are those emails that are sent by Public Safety relating to security.

I received a Massmail message that does not appear to be real. How can I check its authenticity?

At the end of all massmails there will be an archive link. If you click on this link you will Bluestem into the Web Services portal. This secure web page will display a list of all Massmail archives..

Considerations for Creating a Massmail

What type of information can be sent via Massmail?

The Massmail system is designed to provide timely electronic distribution of official information through administrative channels on campus. These messages are primarily reserved for a) time-sensitive critical campus announcements/notices that need to reach a broad segment of campus and b) campus safety and emergency messages.

Massmail can not be used to distribute event or other information that is not "official University business." Other distribution modes are in place, such as the eWeek newsletter and Inside Illinois, to handle announcements that do not fit the criteria of Massmail. To view a listing of suggested alternatives, see "Are there alternatives to Massmail?," below.

The following are some simple questions you should ask yourself before sending a Massmail:

  • Does the information meet the criteria for Massmail?
  • Does the information need to reach its recipients with the immediacy of Massmail?
  • Are there alternative ways to get the information to those who need it?
  • Does the information need to reach an entire category of Massmail recipients (ie. all students, all staff)?

Massmail should be released sparingingly, so that people pay more attention to each new message.  Likewise, the information disseminated should be relevant to everyone in the audience, so that recipients continue to regard Massmail as a source of useful information.

Are there limitations when sending Massmail?

The Massmail service limits the message to text only. The reason for this is to prevent spam filters from flagging the content as spam. There is also a limit of 75,000 characters per message(including spaces, punctuations, and the HTML header and footer).

What makes for an effective Massmail?

  • Keep it short.  Five lines will be read by most, but very few will read more than one page.  If you need to convey a lot of detailed information to readers, post the full information on a website, and use Massmail to direct readers to the page's URL.
  • Be concise.  Edit your message carefully, and delete all unnecessary words.  The first few sentences should contain all the essential information, including why you are sending this message to this group of recipients.
  • Provide contact information.  Tell your readers who they can contact with specific questions or for more details.  Remind readers that they can reply to the Massmail's "Reply-To" address, and include actual email addresses, phone numbers, or webpage URLs in the body of your message.
  • Avoid redundant Massmail subject titles.  Before requesting or releasing your message, make sure it is complete.  This helps avoid the need to submit subsequent clarification messages.  Massmail works best when used sparingingly, so that people pay more attention to each new message.

What are the exact steps required to submit Massmail?

Massmail messages go through three major steps before delivery: Create and Submit, Approve, and Release. Please see the page "How to Use Massmail" for detailed instructions.

How can I create a web link to a Massmail message?

When you create your message with the Massmail Tool, it automatically generates an online link on the "Appearance" tab. You can copy this and paste it into additional messages or web pages.

Are there alternatives to Massmail?

Yes. Check the Public Affairs Communications Resources for the campus which include:

  • Eweek: The most notable alternative to Massmail is eweek is a weekly announcement email newsletter sent out to all employees of the Urbana-Champaign campus. If you have a short announcement that only needs to go to employees, eweek is a great solution. Best of all, it is free to publish announcements in eweek.
  • The Campus Calendar can be used to publicize a lecture or talk that is open to campus. Some of these events are published on the campus home page.
  • Inside Illinois, the faculty-staff bi-weekly newspaper, publicizes events covering a wide range of topics of interest for faculty and staff members.
  • Here and Now: Images of Illinois have photos/images that capture an important or compelling event that illustrate the Illinois Experience for your unit or group? Submit your images here.
  • The Daily Illini is often used to publicize events, conferences and symposia, new courses, and the like. Members of the campus community turn to the Daily Illini to find exactly this sort of information.
  • Technology Services Listservs: Check the listing of unit/group lists created for campus that are used to disseminate information about course offerings to all undergraduate advisors.
  • Flyers announcing upcoming lectures and other events can be sent to the relevant department offices for posting on bulletin boards through campus mail.
  • Individual mailings can be made to the particular faculty and staff members who will be interested in a lecture or other event.

Processing Procedures

Who will review and approve my Massmail message?

The Massmail submission process requires the sender to select an administrative office for approval. You should select the administrative office that is responsible for the general area in which your message falls. Based upon the content of the message and the personnel list you wish to send to, there are multiple offices which can grant approval. If you're unsure, inquire at any of these offices regarding your message:

  • Office of the Chancellor
  • Office of the Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  • Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
  • Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Dean of the Graduate College
  • Office of the President
  • Public Safety

When will my Massmail be delivered?

When you create your message, Massmail gives you the choice to either a) send out the message once it's been approved; or to schedule your message to be released on a specific day and time. Approvals may vary based on approver availability but should not exceed three business days beyond your submission. If three days have passed and you have not received a confirmation message, please call the approving office to verify that they have received and are considering your request.

Once the request has been approved, you will receive email confirmation. Once the email has been sent you will also receive an email. At any time before the email has started processing you can withdraw the email. It is important to note that you will need to restart the whole process again if you withdraw the email.

Massmail is intended to be delivered overnight in order to reduce down on the load to the email servers. For example, if you want your mailing to be delivered on Friday, then it would need to be approved by Thursday.

You can choose the exact time and date by scheduling your Massmail. But keep in mind that this is not guaranteed. Delivering a Massmail mailing to the whole campus takes a minimum of two hours and can take longer based on network conditions. Only select administrators can have Massmail sent at any time.

Help! I need a Massmail to go out immediately. What should I do?

First, make direct contact (either by phone or in person) with the administrative office who will be reviewing your message, and inform them of the need for rapid turnaround. Give them as much detail as possible about the proposed content of your message, and try to get a sense of what your message needs to say or not say to be approved quickly.

After you have contacted the office and created your message, submit your Massmail message through the regular process, and wait for the approval which should be expedited through previous contact. It may help to find out who exactly will perform the approval process online, and get in touch with him or her. 

Massmail Contact Information

I would like to get additional information on the content of a Massmail. How can I contact the authors and editors?

Although the content is the sole responsibility of the sender(s), the editorial decision of whether to send the message lies with the administrative office that reviewed the mailing. The administrative office that approved a particular Massmail mailing is listed at the bottom of the message. If you feel that you received a mailing that was not beneficial to your status as a student or employee of the University, you can contact that office directly to relay your suggestions or concerns.

I need to look something up in a Massmail I accidentally deleted. Can I have another copy sent to me?

You cannot have another copy of a Massmail sent to you, but you can look up any previous Massmail mailings in the Massmail Archive section. The archive link is found at the bottom of all Massmails and can also be found by going to: http://go.illinois.edu/massmailArchive.

This archive contains all Massmail mailings sent to campus groups, not just those that were sent to you. Massmail messages are kept in the archive indefinitely. They are sorted based on the most recent one appearing first.


Why am I not receiving Massmail messages?

As a general rule, all University of Illinois employees are included in the Massmail as long as they have a valid email. However if you are a retiree that works on campus you might not receive emails.

If you are not receiving Massmails and you think you should please fill out our Massmail Contact Us form.