Ensure Your Emails Reach Your Audience by Following Industry Best Practices 9325

Ensure Your Emails Reach Your Audience by Following Industry Best Practices


Ensure your organization is ready for Google and Yahoo! changes to email coming in February 2024 by establishing DKIM authentication and a DMARC policy.

We are committed to your success, and this includes bringing you best practices and keeping you informed of changes impacting the industry. As such, we wanted to make you aware that in February 2024, both Gmail and Yahoo! Mail will require bulk email senders to follow best practice authentication and verification guidelines, including:

  • Have a Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) policy
  • Verify that messages are protected by Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) authentication

If you use any of the following Blackbaud solutions to send emails to groups of individuals, you may be considered a bulk email sender, and consequently must comply with these guidelines: Blackbaud Altru, Blackbaud CRM, Blackbaud eTapestry, Blackbaud Internet Solutions, Blackbaud Luminate Online, Blackbaud NetCommunity, Blackbaud Online Express, Blackbaud Raiser's Edge NXT. Your organization may need to take action with your DNS provider to ensure your DKIM authentication is set up correctly.

What action must I take now?

Prior to February 2024, your organization must ensure your emails use DKIM to authenticate and a DMARC policy for mailbox providers to use when email doesn't pass DKIM.

  • Use this Knowledgebase article to determine if you have DKIM in place. If you do NOT have DKIM in place; follow the steps in this Knowledgebase article before February 2024 to ensure your emails continue to be accepted by mailbox providers for delivery.
  • Use this Knowledgebase article to determine if you have a DMARC policy in place. If you do NOT have a DMARC policy in place; follow the steps outlined before February 2024 to ensure your emails continue to be accepted by mailbox providers for delivery.
  • If you already have DKIM and DMARC established; no additional action is needed.

Organizations that do not meet the requirements by February 2024 could see email sends going to Junk/Spam folders or being rejected completely by Gmail and Yahoo Mail. This includes all email domains such as googlemail.com, gmail.com; yahoo.com, aol.com, etc. By acting now, you can prevent any disruption from happening in February 2024.

For more information and a timeline regarding these changes, please see Changes coming to Google and Yahoo! Mail in 2024 and check back often as we will update our resources as more information is available.

Resources to learn more

News Community News 12/14/2023 9:47am EST

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There is some great information in this post. Thank you!

Gmail already began re-directing NXT emails to spam in July?, so we tackled this issue early on.

We learned a lot in this process with Blackbaud to authenticate our DKIM and add text to our DNS. If you take this on, you will likely be getting either your internal IT team or your web hosting support person involved. ?

Many organizations (like hospitals) have policies that prevent them from adding lines to their DNS. For us that meant finding an alternative outgoing mail server to bounce through - from .org previously to our Foundation .ca site. That included adding a mailbox to our FDN domain just for this purpose. (Responses from NXT emails sent this way can still point to any existing .org email.)

Ensure you receive the proper DNS code from Blackbaud to install. The code is a nonsensical string of characters so there is no way to tell if what you are given is correct, until you try adding it. If you end up troubleshooting for a long time, ask them to double-check that the issued code is for the new domain, not the previous one!

Finally, be aware that other fundraising software may also require code in your DNS, and they don't co-exist if they are using the same product. Blackbaud uses something called Spark for NXT emails. So do many other donation platforms - to email donor receipts and notices. We designated our DNS language to Blackbaud, so our companion product still functions, but without full personalization…. emails come from no-reply@ instead of ourfoundation@ so we are exploring paying for another (empty) domain and mailbox, just to solve this issue.

After all this, with a proper DKIM (DNS entry) our mail still appears as ‘BULK’ but at least it appears in the Primary mailbox, not in spam or promotions.

Reach out if you've solved any of the issues I speak of,? or if you are really struggling with what this article suggests, perhaps I can help. Blackbaud support was responsive during our struggle, but there is not much they can assist with on this super-technical issue - it is mostly related to your organization's mail server and webpage code. Goodluck!! ?

Thank you for sharing this information!

Also helpful would be if RE records did not spontaneously change and cut people off from email.