Blackbaud NetCommunity (BBNC) FAQs

Delivery and deliverability

Delivery refers to whether a mailbox provider accepts a message. Deliverability refers to how a mailbox provider determines where to place a message, such as in the recipient's inbox or SPAM folder.

As an email service provider (ESP), we conform to standards for high-volume senders to ensure email delivery. We use our system in combination with a dedicated team of email specialists — who constantly monitor changes that occur within our system and throughout the industry — to help ensure your messages reach their intended recipients.

To prevent mailbox providers from considering your messages as SPAM, we encourage you to follow these deliverability recommendations.

Blackbaud's servers send processed messages to our Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) servers, which physically transmit messages using SMTP protocol to mailbox providers through multiple shared Internet protocol (IP) addresses. After our system transmits a file, the mailbox provider determines whether to accept it.

Specifically, they consider:

  • Blackbaud's sending practices and reputation to determine whether to accept the delivery of a message.

  • The sender's content to determine the deliverability of the message. Deliverability refers to how a mailbox provider determines where to place a message, such as in the recipient's inbox or SPAM folder.

To determine deliverability, mailbox providers consider the:

  • Recipient's previous engagement with the sender's messages, such as whether they opened them or clicked links

  • Email's design and composition

  • Reputation of the sender's domain

Sometimes, when we attempt to transmit a file, the server doesn't accept it and instead returns a soft or hard failure (bounce) code. We organize these codes into failure reason categories and include them with the bounce failure codes in reports to help you understand and correct problems. For more information, see Soft and Hard Failures.

Since Blackbaud doesn't control your organization's domain, email sent from your Blackbaud website is not technically sent from your @domain.org domain, even though you may have entered it in the "send as" or "send from" email address field. Email messages are actually sent from Blackbaud's Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) servers. As a result, your receiving mail server may not recognize the domain.

To help mailbox providers — including the receiving mail server for your organization — verify that you are a legitimate sender, our email system supports multiple authentication methods for your domain. Since you own your domain, we rely on you to manage the authentication for it.

Also, to ensure your anti-SPAM systems don't filter out email you send to yourself from our servers, we recommend you work with the administrator of your network’s email system to whitelist the following ranges of IP addresses:

  • 205.139.104.0/22 (205.139.104.1 - 205.139.107.254)

  • 216.235.196.0/22 (216.235.196.1 - 216.235.199.254)

  • 216.235.200.0/21 (216.235.200.1 - 216.235.207.254)

Blackbaud ended support for email forwarding services on August 7, 2017.

Since Blackbaud doesn't control your organization's domain, email sent from your Blackbaud website is not technically sent from your @domain.org domain, even though you may have entered it in the "send as" or "send from" email address field. Email messages are actually sent from Blackbaud's Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) servers. As a result, your receiving mail server may not recognize the domain.

To help mailbox providers — including the receiving mail server for your organization — verify that you are a legitimate sender, our email system supports multiple authentication methods for your domain. Since you own your domain, we rely on you to manage the authentication for it.

Also, to ensure your anti-SPAM systems don't filter out email you send to yourself from our servers, we recommend you work with the administrator of your network’s email system to whitelist the following ranges of IP addresses:

  • 205.139.104.0/22 (205.139.104.1 - 205.139.107.254)

  • 216.235.196.0/22 (216.235.196.1 - 216.235.199.254)

  • 216.235.200.0/21 (216.235.200.1 - 216.235.207.254)

When mailbox providers place messages they suspect are SPAM into recipient junk or SPAM folders, they provide recipients with the opportunity to move them into their inbox and "unflag" them as junk. When users move messages to their inbox or click links within a message, larger mailbox providers such as Gmail rank those senders more favorably.

Deliverability refers to how a mailbox provider determines where to place a message, such as in the recipient's inbox or SPAM folder. To determine deliverability, mailbox providers consider the:

  • Recipient's previous engagement with the sender's messages, such as whether they opened them or clicked links

  • Email's design and composition

  • Reputation of the sender's domain

To improve the liklihood that your messages reach recipient inboxes, we encourage you to follow these deliverability recommendations.

The IP addresses we use to send bulk email include these ranges:

  • 205.139.104.0/22 (205.139.104.1 - 205.139.107.254)

  • 216.235.196.0/22 (216.235.196.1 - 216.235.199.254)

  • 216.235.200.0/21 (216.235.200.1 - 216.235.207.254)

SPAM blacklists are domain and IP address inventories of senders with poor reputations which sometimes help mailbox providers determine whether to place messages in recipient inboxes. Large trustworthy companies, as well as small, independent networks, create these lists and each provider uses them differently.

Typically, mailbox providers combine data from various public blacklists — as well as information from their own networks — to determine the credibility of a sender. Subsequently, many lists have little to no effect on IP reputation. Major providers disregard low-priority lists entirely and only use information from high-priority services such as SpamHaus and SpamCop.

Blackbaud subscribes to ReturnPath — the email industry’s leading deliverability solution provider — to monitor external blacklists for our IP addresses. When necessary — such as on the rare occasions when SpamHaus or SpamCop list our IP addresses — our team of email specialists immediately request to delist them. We recommend you use services such as uribl.com to monitor your domain and, if necessary, request to de-list it.

Note: Blacklist companies don’t block messages. Rather, mailbox providers use the listings as reasons for blocks. To prevent blocking, we recommend you manage your list quality and maintain a database of engaged recipients.

Processing

As an email service provider (ESP), Blackbaud's sending system is robust and scales well for clients both large and small. Since our system can send large numbers of messages simultaneously, we conform to standards for high-volume senders to ensure email delivery.

To maintain favorable reputations with mailbox providers, our system reviews recipient lists and automatically suppresses email addresses for the following reasons:

  • Hard bounces — When email delivery fails, mailbox providers send bounce code responses. The system categorizes and tracks these bounce codes so that it can suppress email addresses when they fail, such as when a recipient's address is invalid or their account is closed.

  • SPAM complaints — Our email specialists help maintain Feedback Loop (FBL) agreements with mailbox providers that offer FBL programs. With an FBL agreement, a mailbox provider agrees to inform us when a recipient marks a message as unsolicited — such as when they select a "This is SPAM" button or link — so that our system can suppress their email address from future mailings from that sender.

  • Opt-out links — When a recipient uses an opt-out link in a message to request removal from future emails, our system suppresses their email address from future mailings specific to their request, such as only for a particular newsletter or all emails from an organization.

For detailed information about how suppressions appear in reports and on records, review the BBNC user documentation.

Since Blackbaud doesn't control your organization's domain, email sent from BBNC isn't technically sent from your @domain.org domain, even though you may have entered it in the "send as" or "send from" email address field. Email messages are actually sent from Blackbaud's Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) servers. As a result, receiving mail servers may not recognize the domain.

To help mailbox providers — including the receiving mail server for your organization — verify that you are a legitimate sender, our email system supports multiple authentication methods for your domain. Since you own your domain, we rely on you to manage the authentication for it.

Also, to ensure your anti-SPAM systems don't filter out email you send to yourself from our servers, we recommend you work with the administrator of your network’s email system to whitelist the following ranges of IP addresses:

  • 205.139.104.0/22 (205.139.104.1 - 205.139.107.254)

  • 216.235.196.0/22 (216.235.196.1 - 216.235.199.254)

  • 216.235.200.0/21 (216.235.200.1 - 216.235.207.254)

If there's a problem with an intended email address, the mailbox provider sends Blackbaud a code combination of numbers and text to indicate a soft or hard failure. We organize these codes into failure reason categories to help you understand and correct the problem. Soft failure categores include failure codes which aren't permanent, such as mailbox full, inactive account, or network error. For more information, see Soft and Hard Failures.

If there's a problem with an intended email address, the mailbox provider sends Blackbaud a code combination of numbers and text to indicate a soft or hard failure. We organize these codes into failure reason categories to help you understand and correct the problem. Hard failure categories include failure codes which are permanent, such as unknown user, address error, or closed account. For more information, see Soft and Hard Failures.

If there's a problem with an intended email address, the mailbox provider sends Blackbaud a code combination of numbers and text to indicate a soft or hard failure. We organize these codes into failure reason categories to help you understand the problem and how to correct it. For more information, see Soft and Hard Failures.

No. To maintain favorable reputations with mailbox providers, our system reviews recipient lists and automatically suppresses email addresses for the following reasons:

  • Hard bounces — When email delivery fails, mailbox providers send bounce code responses. The system categorizes and tracks these bounce codes so that it can suppress email addresses when they fail, such as when a recipient's address is invalid or their account is closed.

  • SPAM complaints — Our email specialists help maintain Feedback Loop (FBL) agreements with mailbox providers that offer FBL programs. With an FBL agreement, a mailbox provider agrees to inform us when a recipient marks a message as unsolicited — such as when they select a "This is SPAM" button or link — so that our system can suppress their email address from future mailings from that sender.

  • To request that we remove an email address from the suppression list, the recipient must send a message from the affected address to unblockme@blackbaud.com and specifically request removal. In accordance with the United States' Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act, we retain a copy of the request for our records. Future SPAM complaints from the recipient will return the address to the suppression list.

If our system receives a soft failure reason from a mailbox provider which could result in a successful delivery at a later time, the servers automatically attempt to resend the message up to five times over four hour time period. Examples of soft failures the system will resend include “mailbox full,” “too busy,” and “network error.” For more information, see Soft and Hard Failures.

If our system receives a soft failure reason from a mailbox provider which could result in a successful delivery at a later time, the servers automatically attempt to resend the message up to five times over four hour time period. Examples of soft failures the system will resend include “mailbox full,” “too busy,” and “network error.” For more information, see Soft and Hard Failures.

To use DMARC, your organization must configure SPF and use a custom DKIM signature. We recommend you update all email servers that use your domain — such as the ones your organization uses locally — before you publish a DMARC policy. Given the complexity of this authentication method, and the significant impact improper configuration could have, we recommend you consult with your own email specialist before you implement it.

If you receive a bounce message which indicates a message failed DMARC evaluation because neither DKIM or SPF aligned with the policy provided by the From domain, then you need to update the policy to include Blackbaud’s information.

Best practices

To ensure mailbox providers place your messages in recipient inboxes, and to improve engagement, we recommend you follow our recommended best practices.

The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) protocol is an authentication method that enables receiving mail systems to verify the mail servers that are authorized to send email on behalf of a domain.

When a mailbox provider uses SPF authentication, they compare the server that appears in the message header — also known as the long or internet header — to the sending servers that are listed in the Domain Name System (DNS) record for the “envelope from” address.

To authorize our system to send emails on your behalf, access the DNS record for your domain through your domain name registrar — such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions, or Name.com — and add the following to your TXT record for your SPF information:

+include:outboundmail.blackbaud.net ~all

Note: If your TXT record includes older entries such as include:outboundmail.blackbaudhost.com, blackbaudemail.netcommunity1.com, or Blackbaud's IP ranges, remove them.

The DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) protocol is an authentication method that digitally signs part of an email message so that receiving mail systems can verify it wasn’t altered after it was originally sent.

To use it, a sender decides which elements of a message they want to include for the signature — such as the header and body or individual fields in the header — and then configures their system to encrypt those selections with a private key when they send email. When a mailbox provider receives a message with a DKIM signature, they use the public key the sender lists for their domain in the DNS to “unlock” the private key.

To request a custom DKIM signature, contact Support and provide your domain and site ID.

We encourage you to follow these deliverability recommendations.

Content filters like SpamAssassin score email content so mailbox providers can classify and filter unwanted messages. To avoid issues with them, create subject lines that don't use numbers or special characters, and avoid exaggerations such as ALL CAPS, overused exclamation points, and stars or dotted lines. Also, avoid terms such as "Free", "Apply now", "Extra cash", "Home-based", "Opportunity", "Limited time", "Money", and any words that may be considered pornographic. Since anti-SPAM filters also assess message content after they review subject lines, use these same guidelines when you create the body of your emails.

We also recommend you review all of our email best practices.

Note: For an exhaustive list of words to avoid, see HubSpot's The Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words.

For an exhaustive list of words to avoid, see HubSpot's The Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words.

We encourage you to follow these deliverability recommendations.