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Send an Email Message Overview

Volgistics has a built-in email feature you can use to communicate with your volunteers and Coordinators. This help topic explains how you can compose a custom message to send. The system can also send email messages automatically to do things such as remind volunteers about scheduled shifts and upcoming Checklist expiration dates.

You can start a custom email message from the Volgistics Mailbox. If you are not already on the New Message window, you can get there by following these steps:

  1. Select Mailbox from the menu.
  2. Click the Out Box tab.
  3. Click the Send a Message button.

    Image of Send a Message Button


You can also start messages from many other pages in the system. Just look for a Messages icon toward the top of whatever page you're on.

Image of Messages Icon

Click the icon and you'll be taken to the mailbox so you can compose your message and send it out. The message recipients will be automatically limited to just the volunteers who were listed on the page.

Message Settings

Select How You’d Like to Send Your Message

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Change the Reply-to Address if Needed

Use the Reply to field if you'd like to change the email address recipients respond to. Please only enter one address in this field. This field only appears if you selected to send your message by email in step 1.

If an email address has been entered in the Reply-to field on your System Operator setup page, this reply-to email address will appear here by default. You can change the default reply-to address on the System Operator setup page if you want the default address to automatically be populated with a different address. If no address is entered in the Reply-to field on your System Operator setup page, the address entered is the email address you use when you login to Volgistics.

Choose Who Will Receive Your Message

Use the To section to specify which volunteers and/or Coordinators this message should be sent to. If you clicked the Messages icon to get to the New Message page, this section will already be filled in.

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  • To send your message to an individual volunteer, select the volunteer's name from the volunteers dropdown list.
  • To send your message to all of the tagged volunteers, check the Tagged volunteers checkbox.
  • To send your message to all volunteers with a specific Status (such as volunteers with the Active Status), select the Status you want to send the message to.
  • Check All of the volunteers in this Set and then choose a Set to send your message to all of the volunteers in a specific Set.
  • To send your message to every volunteer in your database no matter what their Status is, check the All volunteers checkbox. Your message will be sent to all the volunteers in the non-archived section of your account. Archived volunteers will not be included because they cannot receive messages.
  • To send your message to an individual Coordinator, select the coordinator's name from the Coordinators dropdown list.
  • Check the All coordinators checkbox to send your message to all Coordinators.

There is not a way to send your message to more than one, but not all Coordinators.

You can combine the checkboxes in the To section to send an email to more than one group. For example, if you needed to send a message to all volunteers with the Applicant Status plus just one volunteer with the Active Status, you could use the Status dropdown and select the Applicant Status and then select the one volunteer's name from the individual option. The message will go out to all the volunteers with the Applicant Status, and also the one volunteer selected from the dropdown list.

If you're sending an email message, the CC field also appears. Use this field if you want to send a "carbon copy" of the email message to another recipient who does not have a volunteer or Coordinator record in your account. Leave this field blank if you do not want to send a copy of the email message to anyone. You can only enter one address in this field.

Are Email Messages Sent as Blind Carbon Copies (Bcc)?

In most email clients there is a blind carbon copy (Bcc) feature that prevents recipients from seeing the names and email addresses of the other recipients. In Volgistics, this is not necessary because the system automatically generates a copy of the message for each person. Information about other recipients is hidden without the need to take an extra step.

Choose a Message Type

If you selected to send your message by email (or text) in step 1, and have more than one volunteer or Coordinator selected to receive the message in step 3, the message must have a message type. Use the Message type dropdown list to choose the message type that represents the kind of message you're sending. Whichever message type appears at the top of your Message type setup page is selected in the dropdown by default.

The message types are part of message preference features in Volgistics. Your message will not be sent to volunteers and Coordinators if they have opted not to receive messages of the type selected in the Message type dropdown.

If the Message type dropdown is disabled, the message is only set up to go to one volunteer or Coordinator, or only by VicMail, so the message preference feature does not apply.

Load Template if You’d Like

Volgistics lets you save message templates so that you can easily load messages you send frequently without having to manually re-enter them. You can optionally import the contents of a saved template using the Load Template option. If you wish to load a template, use the dropdown to select the template you want to import and click Load. The contents of the template, including any attachments, will be populated into your message.

Keep in mind that loading a template will overwrite any content that is currently in your message, so you should always load your template first before making other additions.

Enter a Subject

To send a message, you must enter a subject for the message. This field cannot be left blank. Whatever is entered here will appear as the subject of your email message. The Subject line is limited to 40 characters or less.

Please note: Volgistics has an auto-save feature that will keep a copy of your message if your session expires due to inactivity. In order for this feature to work, a subject must be entered for the message so it's a good practice to enter a subject before you start composing your message.

Add Attachments if Needed

You can optionally attach PDF or Microsoft Word files to your email message. (This feature is also available with VicMail.)

If the file you'd like to send with your message has already been uploaded to the Attachments sub-tab of the Mailbox Documents tab, use the Attachment dropdown to select the file. Follow these steps if you'd like to send a file that has not been uploaded already:

  1. Click the New Attachment button.
  2. Locate and select the file you'd like to attach to your message.
  3. Click the Upload button.

Compose Your Message

The next step is to add the message you'd like to send to the volunteers and/or Coordinators. If you loaded a template, the contents of that template will be populated here automatically, and you can make changes to it. If you did not load a template, you can compose your new message from scratch.

When you add your message, you can use rich text formatting to help get your message across. The editor allows you to do things such as change the font choice, size, or color, add text mark up such as bold and underlined text, and even add pictures or images to your message.

The rich text feature also allows you to personalize your message by inserting placeholder codes that will be replaced with each recipient's information. Keep in mind you can select to send your message to both volunteers and Coordinators. If a placeholder code that only applies to volunteers such as the Date of Last Activity is used in a message that goes to Coordinators, the message will show [N/A] where the placeholder value should appear.

If you selected to send your message by Email and by Text Message (or Email, VicMail, and Text), there will be a new section for entering the text portion of your message.

Image Showing Both Sections of Message Composition Window

The text message section will have a counter beside the plain-text window showing how many of the 110 characters available for text messages have been used. You will need to limit your text message to 110 characters or less if you want the volunteers and Coordinators who have opted-in to text messaging to receive the full message.

When the text portion of your message reaches 110 characters, there is not a way to add additional text. If you have more information for recipients, we recommend using the text message to let recipients know they should log in to their email account (or the VicNet portal) to read the longer message. See Send Text Messages if you need assistance composing the text portion of your message.

Auto Save Feature

For security, your Volgistics sessions expire if no activity occurs between your account and the Volgistics servers for a period of time. This prevents the likelihood of an unauthorized person gaining access to your information if they find an unattended computer. In the event you're composing a long message, Volgistics automatically saves your unsent messages approximately every 10 minutes. Messages will only be saved automatically if changes were made to the message's content after the last time it was saved.

In order for the system to automatically save a message, the message must have a Subject. Because of this, it's a good practice to enter the message's subject before composing the message.

The system shows the time your message was last saved automatically in the bottom left corner of the message composition window. If you need to end your session before the next time your message is automatically saved, just click the Save Draft button at the bottom right of the New message page.

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To continue working with a message that was saved, or to send the message, just return to the Out Box tab. Saved messages will be listed at the top of the Sent column with Draft instead of the date and time the message was sent. Just click the Subject of the saved message to return to the New message page.

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Save or Send Your Message

If you need to step away or take a break from composing your message, click the Save Draft button to save your progress. You can come back to it when you're ready by going back to the Out Box and clicking the link for the message.

Once you're done composing your message, you can send it immediately or schedule it to be sent at a future time. If you want to send your message immediately, use the Send dropdown to select Send Now. If you want to schedule the message to send on a future date or time, use the Send dropdown to select Schedule Send and use the pop-up dialog to select the date and time for when you want the message to be sent.

When you schedule a message to be sent in the future, it will appear on the Out Box with the details of the scheduled date and time showing in the Sent column.

Scheduled Message

If you need to edit the message or cancel it before the time it is sent, click the link for the message in the Out Box and click the Cancel Send & Edit button. Now you can edit the message like you would for a message that was saved as a draft. You can make changes to the message and reschedule it to be sent, send it immediately, leave it as saved, or delete it if you no longer wish to send it.

Message Sent Page

Sometimes messages are not able to be sent to everyone you selected as a recipient. Because of this, after your message is sent you'll see a page showing the number of successful recipients along with information about any volunteers and Coordinators who could not receive the message. This page will have different sections depending on why the volunteer or Coordinator could not receive the message and whether the email message was also sent by text. We'll cover the sections for email messages here. If you have questions about why someone did not receive a text message, see the Message Sent Page section of How to Send a Text Message.

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There is not a way to return to this page so if you'll need the information about volunteers who did not receive the message we recommend clicking the Tag these button(s). Then you can run a report for the tagged volunteers, or do any of the other tasks shown in Tag Functionality.

If your message was sent to a group of volunteers who were already tagged, or if the page shows Coordinators (who cannot be tagged), tagging the people listed will not be a good option. In this case, one option is to take a screenshot of the page so you can refer to it later. Or, you could return to your Out Box and view the sent message. Recipients who the message could not be sent to will be crossed off from the list.

No valid email address

Volunteers and Coordinators in this section either do not have an email address recorded, or their email address has been marked as invalid by the system due to repeated email delivery failures. The following help topics can help you locate the volunteers in this category so you can make changes to their records:

Cannot Be Sent (Type of Message)

Any email message sent to more than one person must have a message type selected. This is required to protect the email reputation of your organization and Volgistics. You can learn more about how the Message Preferences feature works in Message Preference Overview.

In most cases, volunteers and Coordinators in this section could not be sent the message because of the message type selected for the message. For example, if the message type selected was Volunteer Opportunities and the volunteer opted-out of this type of message (or was never opted-in), the system will not send them the message and they will be listed here. While we encourage organizations to respect the message choices of volunteers and Coordinators, you can opt everyone in to receive email for a message type.

You can use the Their Email Set Rule to create a Set to find all the volunteers who do not want to receive a certain type of message. You can also run the Volunteer Message Preferences (stock) report to get a list of each volunteer's message preferences.

Volunteers and Coordinators will also be listed here if the No email box is checked on their record. This box is checked when a volunteer or Coordinator opts-out of all messages, or if a System Operator has checked the box because they do not want any email communications to go to the person. The Their Email Set Rule can be used to create a Set to find all the volunteers where the box is checked.

Bounced or Undeliverable Messages

If the system already knows that an email message cannot be sent to a volunteer or Coordinator, you'll see it right away in the Cannot be sent or No valid email address sections of the Message Sent page. However, there may also be instances when an email message you send leaves Volgistics, but is then bounced or not delivered to the recipient by the recipient's email provider. This can happen for a number of reasons such as if the message does not pass the provider's spam guidelines, has an attachment(s) that is too large for their standards, or if the recipient's address is not found. The first thing you should do is make sure your account is set up as recommended to reduce the chances of bounced messages.

Sometimes email messages are not delivered even when your account is set up as recommended. In this case, if the volunteer's email provider sends a notice to Volgistics that the message was rejected, we'll record the non-delivered message on the History tab of the volunteer's record.