What it does
Once you have this set up then any email sent to one email address will automatically be forwarded to everyone on the email list. This is a great way to email a lot of people at once without having to add each recipient individually and having everyone keep track of all the other member’s email addresses. This works great for a RAGBRAI team or any other group in general.
How it works
In my example, I will be using Gmail as the email provider for the team email list. It may be possible to create a team email list similar to this using other email providers but this guide is tailor made for Gmail. The people on the team email list don’t have to use Gmail, they just have to have a valid email address from any email provider.
This process works great if you have a “keeper of the list”, one person who handles the team members email addresses.
Before you start
I always email out instructions to the new team member explaining how it works beforehand. I let them know that they will get an email from Gmail and that they need to click on the link in that email (more on that later). If I have to daisy-chain a few team email addresses together I let the team member know to only email the FIRST team email address so it will go to everyone on the list (more on that later too).
Round up all the email addresses of everyone you want to add to your team email list. I like to keep my list in an Excel spreadsheet so that I can keep track of other info along with their email addresses. If you have many email addresses to add to your team list then divide them up into groups of 19 (more on that later).
How to do it
The first thing you want to do is create the main team email address that will be used to send emails to your group. For these instructions, I’ll use firstname.lastname@example.org as my example. Go to URL www.gmail.com and click “More options” then “Create account”. Fill out the necessary fields to create the new team email account. Once you get through those initial steps you should soon reach your Inbox.
At the Inbox click on the Gear icon and select Settings.
On the top click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP link. We’re going to concentrate on the Forwarding section on the top of the page. To add someone’s email address click the Add a forwarding address button.
Type in their email address in the small window and click the Next button.
Then click the Proceed button.
What will happen next is Gmail will send an email to that email address asking them to confirm forwarding and they must click a link in that email to confirm. This step MUST be taken before you can proceed anymore with this particular email address. Depending on how long it takes the team member to complete, this is the longest part of the entire process. In the meantime, you’ll see their email address shown below the Add a forwarding address button in a short list. Once they have confirmed forwarding they will disappear from this short list. See example below:
Once they have confirmed forwarding by clicking the link from Gmail then you can finish the process of getting them added to the team email list. Now click the Filters and Blocked Addresses link on the top of the page. On the bottom in the middle click Create a new filter link.
In the pop-up box put the team email address in the To field, in this example it would be email@example.com.
Click the Create filter with this search link on the bottom right. Check the box next to “Forward it to” and select the team member from the drop-down list. Finish the process by clicking the Create filter button.
At this point that team member’s email address is now on your team list. Any email sent to the team list, firstname.lastname@example.org in this example, will be automatically forwarded to this team member. You must repeat these steps for each member you want to add to the team email list. Using the Excel spreadsheet to keep track of team members is a good idea so you know who is on the list and who needs to confirm forwarding.
Each Gmail email account will only forward to 20 other email addresses. Remember when I said to group email accounts in groups of 19? It’s because of this limitation. Now to get around this we are going to daisy-chain team email addresses together.
For example, let’s say I have 40 team members I want to add to a team email list. In my example I will have email@example.com forward to 19 of those members and then the 20th will forward to a new team address of something like firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then have that team email address forward to 19 other members and the 20th will forward to email@example.com and so on and so on. IMPORTANT – When you set up filters for those two new team email addresses you will still put in the first team email in the To field. You can add as many additional team email addresses as you like. Keep track of them in an Excel spreadsheet. See example below:
If your member list is close to 19 or if you want to “future-proof” it then I recommend setting up a second email address so you have the room in the future to add more users to your group email.
Removing members from the list
To remove a member from the email list first check your Excel spreadsheet to find out which team email address they are listed under (if more than one is used). Then log in to that team email address and go to Settings. Click on the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab, find the user filter rule and click delete on the right side.
Now click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab on top. Find the user in the drop-down box and click Remove (on bottom of the list). Click OK on the prompt.
Then make sure you accidentally didn’t change the Forwarding option. The box next to “Disable forwarding” should be checked.
Update your Excel spreadsheet and remove the team member from the list.
Blocking email from a specific user
If you had a reason to remove a user from your email list you can also block them from emailing your group. Even though they are no longer on the group email list they can still send email to it, as can anyone who has the group email address. Here’s how to block them from doing that.
Find an email from this user, use the Search bar if needed, and click the drop-down box next to the Reply button on the right and select Block.
If you need to manage blocked email addresses go to Settings, Filters and Blocked Addresses and scroll to the bottom of the page.
When it’s completed
Once you get this process completed then your team email list is ready to use. From this point on everything is automated. Any emails that come into your team email account will automatically be forwarded to everyone on your team. The only time you need to log into the team email account is when you need to add or remove members from the team email list.
Only you and the team members know the team email address and try to keep it private. If anyone else knows the team email address they could send email to it but you can easily block them from doing so. Gmail does also have a very good spam filter system in place as well.