Email Communication

Be consistent.


Use the same technologies for calendars and emails throughout the program. It’s confusing and frustrating for people to learn a new system midway.


Designate a point person.


Meeting invitations and reminders should come from the same person throughout the program, to avoid confusion.


Be upbeat.


Share your enthusiasm and gratefulness in writing, so that people expect to have their spirits lifted when reading a message from you. If you have time, send individual notes of recognition and appreciation when appropriate.


Invite early.


Try to get events on Fellows’ radar, and calendars, as soon as feasible.


Send multiple reminders.


For a given meeting, we send a initial invitation at the start of the term, for Fellows to “save the date.” Then we send a reminder about a week beforehand, and then a final reminder the day before.


Minimize email length and complexity.


Face-to-face interaction is best for more complicated conversations and tough decision-making. Use email for getting essential information and for meeting scheduling/reminding.

Save your templates.

Keep on hand templates or examples of past emails for when you need to send out something similar again. The example emails page has some of our templates.

Avoid forwarding.


Try to minimize, or entirely avoid, sending messages to the Fellows on behalf of others which do not relate directly to the Fellows program. You don’t want to behave, or be seen, as a source of spam.

"The program introduced me to a variety of interesting, civic-minded, inspirational people who in turn led me to make other connections that will enhance the services we provide at the Whatcom County Library System.  Thank you, it has been invaluable!”  

- Christine Perkins

Christine Perkins, Executive Director of Whatcom County Libraries, collaborated with WWU's Visual Journalism program to develop videos about library resources.

The Fellows represent many different institutions with distinct technology platforms and cultures of communication. They also are diverse in age, training, and tech-savviness.


This makes it challenging to communicate via email effectively with everyone, and we are always learning.


Our principles and practices for communicating include:



Our programming takes place on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, particularly the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

(For more information: WWU Tribal Relations)

Thank you to the numerous organizations that have empowered and continue to support this collaborative effort through co-sponsoring events and providing meeting space, expertise, and communication support. Special thanks to Eastern Washington University, Northwest Indian College, University of Puget Sound, Whatcom County Library System, and Whiteswan Environmental for their ongoing dedication to the work.

©2020 Community Engagement Fellows