Listserv Basics

A Listserv?

AWF Connect is an email list, commonly referred to as a "listserv." A listserv is an email list management system. It is used to communicate among a list of members who are interested in a common goal or topic.

Using AWF Connect:

All AWF Connect activity takes place over email. It's as easy as that... well, almost. We use the opensource software GNU Mailman to administer the list and it has a few conventions:

Sending a Message

To ask a question, share a resource, start a conversation or reply to a post, simply email If you're starting a new thread (a group of messages or conversation regarding a particular post), make sure your subject is clear and descriptive. If you're replying to a thread, make sure your subject is the same as the original post.

All discourse is welcome! Here are some examples of conversations AWF connect is perfect for: What type of insurance does my non-profit need to carry? Help! My board chair just quit... What do I tell the rest of the board? What do I need to look for in a good database system? Does anyone have 6 gallons of red paint to donate for our set design?

Reading a Message

Once you're subscribed to AWF Connect, you'll start receiving posts from members and occasional system messages. To manage your inbox activity, there are two modes of subscription:

  1. Regular subscriptions receive messages as they come to the list. The message frequency varies depending on list activity.
  2. Digest subscriptions batch messages into groups and deliver them at regular intervals. This mode cuts down on the number of messages you receive. If you want to reply to a topic that is in the digest, you’ll need to make sure that the subject of your email matches the subject of the original post, rather than simply replying to the whole digest.

All messages that pass through the system are prepended with "[AWF Connect]," making list messages easy to spot and possible to filter through rules in your email client. There are a number of instructional resources on setting up email rules. Here are a few: Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird.

Replying to messages

A list is only as good as its members. If you have advice, guidance, or input for a particular post, speak up! To participate in a thread simply hit reply in your email program. To reply publicly to all members, make sure you are sending to For casual or personal correspondence, simply reply directly to the person who posted the message.

PAUSE before sending your message!

Professional Is your email professional? Every post to the list is available in the archives (with obfuscated emails). By sharing our insights, experiences and ideas, we're hoping to build a resource for future culture workers and arts supporters.
Address Who is getting the message? Is it intended to go to everyone on the list (to: or is it more personal and intended only for the original poster (
Useful Is your post or reply productive to the larger conversation?
Subject Does your subject line clearly describe your post? If you're replying to a conversation, make sure your message has the same subject line as the other messages.
Extra Have you removed extraneous information, like long signature files?


Managing Your Subscription

You can manage your subscription here. After subscribing, you'll receive a welcome message with your subscription link and your password. You can update your password, however, it's not recommended to use a personal or commonly used password. You will need your password to unsubscribe from the list. For a (very) detailed account of the list member interface, check out the GNU Mailman - List Member Manual.

A few subscription options to mention are:

  • Mail Delivery: You can disable your subscription if you need a break or are going on vacation. Note, auto-responders can create overhead for list moderators. Please disable delivery if you are planning on turning on vacation-mode or out-of-office message on your email
  • Digest: as mentioned above, a digest subscription batches messages together in a roughly-weekly email.

You can also interface with the list via email. Try sending a message with the subject "Help" to: All options are also available on the web on the Member Options page.


As we roll out the list, we're heavily moderating things to mitigate spam and avoid flooding members inboxes. There may be a small delay between sending your message and when your message is posted to the list. Thanks for your patience–and excitement!

Thank You!

We're glad you are here. Thank you for your participation through sharing insights, questions, stories, and solutions.


Join the List

Questions about AWF Connect? Email: