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List cleaning


List cleaning

We have lists that were neglected for quite some time. We are in the process of cleaning them, however, there are bounces that some of my colleagues believe are viable. They don't want to get rid of them because of personal relationships and "knowing" that the individual is interested in our e-newsletter and other dedicated emails we send. 


Could it be that our emails to addresses that happen to belong to friends of our organization are bouncing for other reasons other than they are on vacation, or no longer active? Could they be bouncing because of how we are sending out the email. For instance, do email providers block organizations sending email for different reasons: what is in a subject line, how the email is laid out, too many links in the body of the email? 


Feedback on this is appreciated. I am trying to bounces, but have a suspicion that it is our content and subject lines raise flags for email providers causing blocks.


I just posted a message asking about cleaning my orgs lists based on bounces. 


On the subject of un-opened emails from the audience for more than a year. What should be done if the email belongs to a friend of the organization? We know that they are donors, come to our events, but they just are not opening our emails for some reason. Do we need to do the painstaking exercise of reaching out to them in person to find out whether in fact they do need to be taken off our list?



Hello @PaulaS22378,


Thank you for coming to the community with these questions!  Figuring out bounces and cleaning lists can be one of the biggest struggles over a longer period of time, but we'll do what we can to help.  First off then;


Bounces:  A bounce means that either we did not send the email to preserver your sending history (suspended emails) or we received a message from the sender, telling us that the email was not, or could not be delivered.  If an organization is blocking emails, they should tell us that they are blocked, and the bounce reason would then say 'Blocked'.  If they just have a full mail-box, then that should show in the bounce reason as well.  Some very old, or very high-security systems may give us incorrect information, but unfortunately there's really no way of knowing that for sure without contacting the recipients.  I would read through the list of bounce reasons, and consider only removing the bounces that seem more extreme, especially those in the 'recommended for removal' category.


Did Not Open:

If someone doesn't open any of your emails in a full year, we usually think that it's pretty reasonable to go ahead and delete them.  That being said, if there's a reason that you want to keep a certain contact, by all means, keep that contact.  Ultimately, I'd only reach out to contacts that you do know personally, or who are active with your organization in some other way.  Most likely, they have multiple email addresses, and have been receiving and checking your emails on one of their other, more used, addresses.  If they aren't opening emails, reaching out to them through some other means is really the only logical way to be able to figure out why.


I hope that helps!

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