Universitywide Email Communication Guidelines

When planning an email that targets a specific group of UMB constituents, it is important to first answer some questions and consider the scope of your email.

‘The Elm’: UMB’s Preferred Communication Tool

Understanding the Office of Communications and Public Affairs’ (CPA) email guidelines and the purpose and functions of The Elm may help with your strategic plan for distributing your message. The Elm will likely be your best option for communicating with UMB’s internal audience.

The benefits of using The Elm are that it is a Universitywide publication, thus ALL University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) employees have access to it and will automatically receive The Elm Weekly recap email each Monday morning.

The Elm web-based news platform and its companion, The Elm Weekly email, were created at the request of UMB faculty, staff, and students specifically to decrease the number of emails that constituents were receiving. 

The Elm is a mechanism for sharing stories, announcements, accolades, voices and opinions, and calendar events.

The Elm Weekly is a user-submitted weekly email newsletter that consists of items of interest to the UMB community. Keep in mind that not all content on The Elm website is included in The Elm Weekly email

When ‘The Elm’ Is Not the Best Option

Sometimes, a person or department will need to convey a message Universitywide (i.e., a leadership communication) or to a large targeted group (i.e., a Human Resources health and wellness communication).

When the email contains content from UMB leadership, such as the president’s or vice presidents’ offices, CPA assists with preparation and dissemination using Constant Contact, a digital and email marketing platform.

When a unit or department wants to send an email to a targeted group, there are several options:

  • A request should be made to CPA to determine if the message meets the criteria for sending through CPA’s Constant Contact account.
  • If it is a recurring email or a targeted email as outlined above, then CPA’s recommendation is to purchase a subscription to Constant Contact. Please note:
    • Your email contact list can contain only opt-in subscribers.
    • Because of the opt-in email policy, CPA does not share email contact lists.

Email Request Guidelines

Requests for emails to be sent through CPA must be made at least five days prior to email launch. The email will be scheduled based on other requests concurrent with your submission. CPA cannot guarantee your requested launch date and/or time.

  1. Leadership emails are usually prioritized.
  2. Universitywide emails are sent for promotions or new hire announcements for positions at the vice president or dean level only. All emails are subject to final approval by the senior vice president for external relations.
  3. Once the information outlined below is provided to CPA, the workflow for the email is as follows: It will be
    1. created in Constant Contact
    2. tested
      1. tested to a small subset of CPA-defined people for editing and review, as well as the submitter-assigned email approver(s)
      2. tested to a university email test listserv who regularly provide editorial review of all CPA-generated emails
    3. scheduled

CPA Executed Universitywide Distribution Requirements

When your email has been approved for sending through CPA, please provide the following information.

Requested Drop Date: Preferred date for send

Preferred Drop Time: Preferred time for send, if applicable

POC: Point of contact who initiated the request and can answer any CPA questions about the email

Test List: Please provide the name(s) and email address(es) of those who will approve the first draft. Typically this is one to two people.

Audience: Email list(s) to use for sending, including but not limited to:

  • faculty, staff, students, affiliates (some or all)
  • alumni
  • customized list provided in Excel with column headings

From: This is usually an office, for example:

  • University of Maryland, Baltimore | Office of the President
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore | Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Reply Email: If applicable, include a “reply to”; otherwise, state “NONE” and we will use “”.

Subject Line: What should the email subject line be?

Template: Is there a specific logo or template we should use?

Header Needed Y/N: Is a custom header needed? If so, please attach artwork or work with design to create one.

Other Info for Email Publisher: Any other miscellaneous info you think you need to provide.

Content: Include signee name(s), title(s), and credentials (if known; otherwise, CPA will add them).

Other Options: Creating an Opt-In Newsletter

There are times when a department, unit, or center may wish to send out regular information to their audience. In cases like this, you can purchase a Constant Contact account to send your newsletter directly to the list of people who have requested a subscription.

This newsletter would be sent only to people who have subscribed using the opt-in feature available through Constant Contact.

All Opt-in newsletters MUST be approved by (the Chief Marketing Officer in) Communications and Public Affairs. See the CPA branding page for more information. CPA also offers services such as creating and loading templates into Constant Contact, marketing an opt-in newsletter to help build a mailing list, and adding a sign-up form to a webpage. Completing a work order request is the first step in requesting CPA’s services.