Best Practices FAQs

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 a TXT record to it for your SPF information.

Note: Add a TXT record with SPF information for each domain you use to send email. Also, don’t forget to include the other email servers that are authorized to send on your behalf.

  • If your organization uses its own office email server and Blackbaud is the only email service provider (ESP) that sends email on your behalf, enter:

    • Altru, BBNC, BBIS, and OLX — v=spf1 +mx +include:outboundmail.blackbaud.net ~all

    • Luminate Online — v=spf1 +mx +include:outboundmail.convio.net ~all

  • If your organization uses multiple ESPs, enter:

    • Altru, BBNC, BBIS, and OLX — v=spf1 include:outboundmail.blackbaud.net ~all

    • Luminate Online — v=spf1 include:outboundmail.convio.net ~all

Note: Altru, BBNC, BBIS, and OLX — If your TXT record includes older entries such as include:outboundmail.blackbaudhost.com or Blackbaud's IP ranges, you can remove them so that the only entry is, as noted above, v=spf1 +mx +include:outboundmail.blackbaud.net ~all or v=spf1 include:outboundmail.blackbaud.net ~all.

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.

For Luminate Online, our email system provides generic 1024-bit DKIM authentication — by default — which encrypts fields in the header of messages you send with a private key. When mailbox providers receive the messages, they use the public key we publish for our domain to unlock it.

Note: If a generic DKIM signature is not sufficient for your organization's unique needs, or if you'd like to implement a DMARC policy, you can request a custom DKIM signature, for your domain.

Tip: If your organization published DKIM public keys with less than 1024-bits, we recommend you delete them. For Luminate Online, this recommendation includes public keys with the convio1 key.

For Altru, Blackbaud Internet Solutions, Blackbaud NetCommunity, and Online Express, you can request a custom DKIM signature for your domain.

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 asses 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.