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Mailing Lists:
Are They For You

by Deane Brengle


The internet offers several places for like minded people to participate in discussions on a variety of topics. Web sites and usenet newsgroups are the ones most people are familiar with. An often unexplored addition to these are mailing lists.

What is a mailing list? A "mailing list" (or listserv, mail reflector or discussion list as they are sometimes called) is a vehicle for exchanging opinions and information among individuals focusing on a specific area of interest. They operate by email. You subscribe and unsubscribe by email. You receive messages automatically by email in your mailbox. You respond by email. Most mailing lists are managed by moderators who attempt to keep the train of thought from wandering off subject and sometimes screen out commercial messages.

Each mailing list will have specific instructions on how to subscribe and unsubcribe (along with other commands). The email address that you will use to subscribe and unsubscribe will be different than the email address you post messages to. It is very important to remember this (unless you don't mind looking like a bonafide internet newbie). Make sure that when you subscribe and unsubscribe you do it from the internet account you want to receive messages at (not a friends account). When you send your subscribe message (or any command to mailing list host) make sure you delete your signature line if you have one.

There are several ways that a mailing list could use to have you subscribe. The important part is that you follow each list's instructions carefully. Once you have subscribed to a list by sending your information to the host computer you will be added to the list. This usually happens very quickly. The first message you receive will be a conformation of your subscription along with detailed instructions on how to use the list. Save these instructions. Trust me, although they may not seem important now they will later. They will contain information on how to unsubscribe, modify the way you receive messages or interrupt postings (like when you go on vacation and you don't want your internet account terminated by your service provider because your mailbox is continually being choked with messages).

That's all there is to it. But beware. Some lists can generate huge amounts of traffic. It is best to subscribe to one list at a time (or add one list at a time) until you know how much traffic each will add to your mailbox. Some lists offer the opportunity to subscribe in digest form, where messages are bundled in a group to reduce the number of individual e-mail messages. If it exists, you should be told about this option in the message confirming your subscription.

You will now receive postings from the mailing list in your email software in-box. You can send postings to the list and those messages will be sent automatically to all the list's subscribers. If you want to send a personal reply to a particular message make sure you direct the message to the author's email address, not the list address (this mistake can prove particularly embarrassing). As with most internet discussion groups it is advisable to lurk a while (watch and read postings without posting yourself) and get the hang of how each operates. This can help avoid being flamed (receiving highly negative personal comments).

The following is a listing of the mailing lists that address the subject of fundraising. Each has a short description and is listed alphabetically. The lists that support an information command (a more detailed explanation of the list) are noted.

  • AGvNFP-L (for discussion of governmental and not-for profit accounting)
    KURTENBACH@bus3.bus.iastate.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE AGvNFP-L YOUR NAME

  • ALUMNI-L (for alumni relations discussions)
    listserv@brownvm.brown.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE ALUMNI-L YOUR NAME
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO ALUMNI-L

  • ARIES (European: for discussion among public, private and independent sectors)
    aries-v.woodell@geo2.poptel.org.uk
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE ARIES YOUR NAME

  • ARNOVA-L (nonprofit organizations and voluntary action)
    rlohman@wvnvm.wvnet.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE ARNOVA-L YOUR NAME

  • BOARD-SENSE (discussion of issues related to Boards of Directors for nonprofit organizations)
    majordomo@AZStarNet.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE BOARD-SENSE
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO BOARD-SENSE

  • CDN-GIFTPL-L (Canadian charitable gift planning)
    listproc@listserv.mcmaster.ca
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE CDN-GIFTPL-L YOUR NAME

  • CFRNET (corporation and foundation fundraising for educational organizations)
    listserv@unc.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE CFRNET YOUR NAME
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO CFRNET

  • CHRONICLE (preview next issue of Chronicle of Philanthropy, coming events, deadlines for grant proposals - this is a one way list)
    chronicle-request@nonprofit.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE CHRONICLE YOUR NAME

  • CYBERVPM (for sharing recruitment techniques and management ideas among charity employees who work with volunteers)
    listserv@listserv.aol.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE CYBERVPM YOUR NAME
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO CYBERVPM

  • DEADLINES (competitions, contests, calls for entries/papers, grants, scholarships, fellowships, jobs, internships,etc. in the arts or related areas)
    adl@rtuh.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE DEADLINES
    For information see http://custwww.xensei.com/adl/

  • ESTPLAN-L (estate planning list, planned giving)
    listserv@netcom.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE ESTPLAN-L YOUR NAME

  • FRFDS-L (fundraising for libraries)
    listproc@ala1.ala.org
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE FRFDS-L YOUR NAME

  • FUNDCAN (for discussion by Canadian education fundraisers)
    listserv@qucdn.queensu.ca
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE FUNDCAN YOUR NAME

  • FUNDLIST (for discussion by fundraising professionals about all aspects of advancement)
    listproc@listproc.hcf.jhu.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE FUNDLIST YOUR NAME

  • FUNDSVCS (fundraising software and technology)
    majordomo@acpub.duke.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE FUNDSVCS
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO FUNDSVCS

  • FUNDUK (for discussion of UK fundraising issues)
    funduk-request@lists.dircon.co.uk
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE FUNDUK
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO FUNDUK

  • GIFT-MGT (for discussion of planned giving management issues)
    listserv@netcom.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE GIFT-MGT YOUR NAME
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO GIFT-MGT

  • GIFT-PL (for discussion of planned giving topics)
    listserv@indycms.iupui.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE GIFT-PL YOUR NAME

  • GIVING (for donors & volunteers)
    listproc@envirolink.org
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE GIVING YOUR NAME
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO GIVING

  • GRANTS-L (fundraising, grant admin. and Internet resources)
    listserv@gsuvm1.gsu.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUB GRANTS-L YOUR NAME

  • GRANTSTALK (an open discussion for grant seekers)
    GrantsTalk@fallingrock.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail with SUBSCRIBE on the subject line. Leave the message area blank.

  • GRANTWRITER-L (for fundraisers applying for grants)
    majordomo@fallingrock.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE GRANTWRITER-L

  • HILAROS (for Christians in fundraising)
    majordomo@mark.geneva.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE HILAROS
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO HILAROS

  • IEG: (for discussion of sponsorship issues)
    listieg@mcs.net
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE IEG-LISTSERV YOUR NAME

  • ISTR-L (for Canadian students of global nonprofit activity)
    listserv@yorku.ca
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE ISTR-L YOUR NAME

  • MICHFUND (for fundraising professionals in Michigan)
    listserv@cms.cc.wayne.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE MICHFUND YOUR NAME
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO MICHFUND

  • NONPROFIT-NET (for nonprofit organizations)
    listproc@nonprofit.net
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUB NONPROFIT-NET YOUR NAME

  • PSS (Philanthropic Studies Society)
    listserv@indycms.iupui.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE PSS YOUR NAME

  • STEWARDSHIPLIST (discussion and exchange of information and ideas about stewardship and donor relations in nonprofit advancement)
    majordomo@ocaxpl.cc.oberlin.edu
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE STEWARDSHIPLIST
    For information, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO STEWARDSHIPLIST

  • TALK-AMPHILREV (American Philanthropy Review)
    majordomo@tab.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: SUBSCRIBE TALK-AMPHILREV
    For information,send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message: INFO TALK-AMPHILREV

  • USNONPROFIT-L (sharing ideas re: nonprofit organizations)
    usnonprofit-l-request@rain.org
    To subscribe, send e-mail with SUBSCRIBE on the subject line. Leave the message area blank.

  • VOLUNTEERS (for volunteers who wish to discuss their charity work. Officials are also welcome)
    listserv@listserv.aol.com
    To subscribe, send e-mail, leaving the subject line blank, with the message SUBSCRIBE VOLUNTEERS YOUR NAME


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About the Author:

Deane Brengle writes for several free online publications that cover fundraising for small nonprofit groups. You can visit these publications and read more about fundraising in articles by him and other experts in the field at The Fund$Raiser Cyberzine, The Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, and Fundraising Booklets.



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