PRSPCT-L Usage Guidelines

General Guidelines

  • PRSPCT-L is intended for discussions, announcements and queries regarding non-profit fundraising research, analytics and relationship management and/or related fundraising matters. Content should be relevant to these topics and other matters that involve or are of interest to the fundraising research professional.
  • Before sending a message to the list, make sure that the content is appropriate and that it is related to the purpose of the listserv. This is especially important because your posting will not be confidential; it will be available to all viewers.
  • The "L" should not be used as a formal communication channel to Apra. Should you wish to direct inquiries, provide feedback or make suggestions to Apra, please email
  • No commercial selling or promotion of products or services offered by for-profit businesses, vendors or consultants, although referrals, usage tips, issues and advice concerning products and services are generally allowed. Announcements concerning industry events offered by Apra, Apra chapters and/or affiliated organizations are acceptable. When in doubt about the appropriateness of a message, please contact the list moderator.
  • Specific names of donors, prospects or employers should NOT be mentioned. Remember, your posts and comments can be viewed by all subscribers. Consider your organization’s confidentiality and privacy policies or refer to Apra’s Statement of Ethics for more information and guidance.

Standards of Mailing List Etiquette

The following etiquette standards, which were first taken from the second chapter of INTERNET: Mailing Lists (SRI International, 1993) and modified for inclusions and instructions by the PRSPCT-L listserv managers, should help you make your participation meaningful and embarrassment-free.

  • It is prudent to consider what you're posting and whether it is appropriate to be available in a list archives. For example, if you send a job description to the list, you might want to remove institution specific references since the job description will be sent to everyone subscribed to the list and will also be available in the archives for future reference.
  • When replying to a message that has been sent to the list, consider whether your reply should be sent directly to the person who sent the original message, or to the entire list. This is especially true if you are unhappy with what some user said. In most cases it is much better to send her/him mail directly; not to the entire list.
  • Please refrain from posting “me too" messages since many thousands of subscribers may end up having to read your message.
  • It is never wise to carry on "meta-discussions" about whether a given discussion is appropriate. This type of traffic mushrooms until nobody can find the messages that belong. Assume that the list moderator has privately contacted anyone who engages in or contributes to such conversations.
  • The "Subject" field of your mail message should give a reasonable summary of the contents of the message. This helps list members to sort and file mail messages. If, during the course of a discussion, you change the original focus of the discussion, change the "Subject" line as well. An appropriate way of doing so is to reference the old subject in the new subject as follows: Subject: DataTimes (was: Online Services).
  • When you reply to a mail message, summarize it, if appropriate, and attribute it to its author. If your mail program allows you to include the old message in your reply consider using that facility, but be sure to remove parts of the old message that are irrelevant, such as headers and footers.
  • Related to the above, if you receive a Digest version of the list and wish to reply to one of the messages contained therein, please change the Digest subject line to be the same as the message you are responding to, and delete all of the messages in the Digest with the exception of the one you are addressing.
  • When asking a question, gather the replies and post a summary to the list (especially of messages not sent via the list).
  • Always attach your signature (name and e-mail address) to the end of your posts. There are a whole host of mail clients, and no two display the headers in the same way. On the other hand, long signatures are definitely frowned upon since some subscribers pay fees to retrieve these messages. Three to Six lines are generally appropriate.
  • In preparing a message, be aware that people will be reading your post on many different hardware platforms (DOS, Mac, Unix, etc...) and software programs. Cute pictures and long lines which look fine on your system may be unrecognizable on someone else's system.
  • When going on vacation or an extended absence, either unsubscribe from the list, or change your account setting to "Vacation Mode"
  • Your messages will be the most readable if you keep these things in mind while you are composing them:
    • Keep your lines under 80 characters and under 72 if possible. (most editors have a fill or format mode that will do this for you automatically)
    • Line (or right, or full) justified text is almost always harder to read than leaving ragged right margins; do not justify your messages.
    • Most special control characters and formatting, will not work on many systems. In fact, the space character is about the only one you can be sure will work consistently. Even tabs aren't always the same from machine to machine and should be avoided. Many mail clients will re-map control characters. Pictures and diagrams should not use embedded tabs.
    • Submissions in a single case (all upper or all lower) are very difficult to read.

General Administration:

Web URL:

To maintain your account online, simply log in at to change your user settings, including preferences for formatting, digest and preferred name. On your first visit, you will need to create your account and set your password. You will then be sent a confirmation email where you can click to confirm your password and log in to the site.

Need help with content, rules of etiquette? Contact Apra at
Need help with technical administration, including preferences and set-up? Contact Apra at