Naples Free-Net
Helpteam Procedures Manual
This reference guide is designed to assist NFN Helpteam members
understand the operational processes of the organization.

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NFN Listserv Services

NFN Proudly Announces a New Service for Non-Profit Organizations

As you know, NFN has been increasing the range of services it can offer to local Non Profits. We are pleased to announce a major addition to our services -- LISTSERV lists. We are able to offer this service for free to Collier County not-for-profits organizations as this project was funded by the Community Foundation and the manufacturer of the Listserv Software - Lsoft.

What, you may be asking, are LISTSERV lists? And, how might I use them?

Does your organization have an active forum that gives people the opportunity to share thoughts, opinion, views, and advice about a particular topic? Most nonprofits have several different interest groups. Many of these meet regularly. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to find a convenient time and place. Other times, developments happen so quickly it is difficult or impossible to contact every group member to keep them informed and involved. Frequently a member or two will not "get the word" that something important is happening and feel forgotten or left out. Sometimes a person is a member of two important groups that meet at the same time making participation in both groups difficult or impossible.

An easy solution is to have a mailing list of all group members and exchange information with people using that list. On the Internet, a program that facilitates such exchanges is known as a LISTSERV. Simply stated, this program maintains a list of email addresses. Group members (and other interested parties) can join by subscribing to the list. This is usually done by asking the person in charge, called the list administrator, to add their address to the list. Once people have joined, they receive copies of all the email sent to the list. They can also send their own messages. By addressing a message to the list, it gets sent to all the other subscribers.

Many mailing lists function as discussion groups; a person starts a discussion by sending a question to the list and other members respond by addressing their answers to the list. All list members receive all the emails. A common procedure is for all messages to use the same subject line so different topics can be easily separated.

Mailing lists can also be used primarily for distributing information, like a monthly newsletter, minutes of monthly meetings, announcements and reminders of special events, etc. Since the list is maintained by NFN's server, any member can comment on the announcements by posting to the list. For example, corrections to minutes can be posted between meetings so that the minutes presented at the next meeting are already complete.

Mailing lists can be public or private. A public list is open for anyone to join. Public lists can contain addresses for many people who may be interested in the organization or topics and want to participate but who do not live in the area or for some other reason are not able to attend more traditional face-to-face meetings.

Private lists are those that have requirements for participation. Such requirements may be as simple as being a member of a "group," for example: Dues paying members of your organization, or requirements can be very specific, like being a board member of your organization. The administrator of each list monitors and controls subscriptions to the list. Sometimes a list will become so popular it gets capped simply to keep the volume of mail at a reasonable level.

Interested? It is easy to add LISTSERV to your NFN services. Email NFN at with your name, NFN account information, and a phone number so someone can call you.


Bill Coakley President, Naples Free-Net

The "list of our lists" can be found at:

12/1/03 bmayer



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