Email, Contests & Consent

Please be aware that each of these topics have specific legal considerations. These guidelines are presented to assist you in avoiding any legal problems related to the given subject. Please use appropriate channels to confirm official permission has been obtained before proceeding.

Emails (Mass Email Marketing)

An e-mail campaign can be an effective way to communicate with audiences affected by your unit’s services in order to let them know about new information available to your website. However, there are university policy and legal requirements to observe when you communicate through e-mail on behalf of your unit. These are the specific issues to be aware of and tools that may assist you in following legal and university policy requirements.

External Audiences

Building a Subscription List

To ensure you reach audiences that are interested in your message, building and maintaining a list of subscribers who have asked to receive your messages can be important.

Federal Law

  • If you are sending e-mail to people who are not enrolled in or employed by the university, you should be aware of and observe the CAN-SPAM Act.
  • Using commercial e-mail marketing tools from a provider such as MailChimp may assist you in meeting these requirements by providing methods for users to “opt-out” of receiving messages and by asking you to verify best practices, such as confirming your e-mail list is composed of people who have asked to receive messages from you.

University Internal Audiences

To avoid diluting the effectiveness of important messages from other campus communicators, consider taking advantage of channels meant to regularly provide updated information and target e-mail messages to only the audiences affected by the information you are presenting.

Regular Announcements

There are several channels that university students, faculty and staff expect to contain important information about new services, including:

  • PAWS
  • The University Digest e-mail newsletter

Directed Broadcasts

Target your e-mails effectively by building a list of subscribers, tracking the contact information of those signing up to use a particular service or sending a broadcast to only the department, unit, or group affected by the information. Designees of deans and department chairs have access to a tool that allows users to aggregate lists of students majoring in an area of study. For assistance sending a directed broadcast, follow these instructions: and take advantage of this template for sending HTML broadcast.

Campuswide Broadcasts to Students, Faculty and Staff

The university maintains e-mail lists of students, faculty and staff. Broadcast e-mail messages to these lists are for disseminating critical information only. More targeted lists are preferred for distributing non-critical information.

Campuswide broadcasts are governed by the university’s e-mail system acceptable use and security policy. To send a campuswide broadcast, you must be a designee of certain unit and department heads. The designated communicator is responsible for seeking required approvals. Contact Public Relations and Marketing Communications for information on designation to send critical broadcast messages.

Photo and Video Consent

Subjects of photography, video footage or audio recordings that will be made available on the university website and in other publications should sign a release consenting to publication. Students sign a release when they enroll in the university [as do faculty and staff when they join Georgia State]. However, non-university participants should be asked to sign a release explicitly consenting to publication. Units should keep signed releases on file. A sample release that has been approved by Legal Affairs can be found in this  toolkit.

[Link to Release in Tools]

Contests and Incentives

Contest, sweepstakes, giveaways, raffles, etc., are all wonderful ways engage your audience and we want to help you use them. There are legal considerations that need to be taken into account when engaging in these activities. To avoid endangering the University or the status of your social media pages, read the following guidelines before you attempt to hold a contest.

HOW THIS PRACTICE HELPS ACHIEVE YOUR MARKETING/COMMUNICATION GOALS

  • Promotions (giveaways, raffles, etc.), when structured appropriately, can be an effective component of marketing and communications plans.
  • These activities can assist in increasing faculty, staff, student, and/or community participation in a wide variety of university-related activities.
  • However, as detailed below, such promotions are subject to many regulations.  Accordingly, any university department/unit interested in using promotions must be in close contact with the Division of University Relations and, as applicable, Legal Affairs.
  • In many instances, the Division of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications and Legal Affairs will be able to structure promotions that satisfy applicable laws and guidelines, while also meeting University department/unit needs.

LEGAL/ETHICAL/SECURITY/APPROVAL

  • There are many rules associated with the use of promotions.  In addition to complying with the laws of the State of Georgia, promotions must satisfy requirements related to advertising, taxation and prizes.
  • For promotions advertised or conducted through social media (specifically Facebook), there are numerous other requirements/prohibitions for university departments/units.
  • Promotions should not be conducted without consultation with and approval from the Division of University Relations and, as applicable, the Office of Legal Affairs.

EXAMPLES

ACTION ITEMS

If you are interested in using a contest, giveaway, skill game or other promotion, you must:

  • At least two months prior to the proposed promotion, contact Terry Coniglio, Social Media Coordinator, in Public Relations, Marketing and Communication to discuss your plans and to obtain the university’s guidelines on the use of such promotions.  Ms. Coniglio may be reached at either x3-1356 or tconiglio@dev.gsu.edu.
  • If official rules need to be drafted for the proposed promotion, or other legal issues become involved in the promotion, Bharath Parthasarathy, Associate General Counsel, in Legal Affairs will be brought into the discussion. Parthasarathy may be reached at x3-0500 or bparthasarathy@dev.gsu.edu.