A blog about digital government, communications, citizen satisfaction & engagement, GovDelivery, and other e-government issues

GovDelivery’s Role in Government Communication

August 18th, 2009 | Posted by Scott Burns CEO of GovDelivery in Email Communication | GovDelivery

I have been contacted many times recently regarding GovDelivery’s role in the communications practices of our clients and in protecting the privacy of people interested in receiving updates from the government.

If you’re not familiar with GovDelivery, our mission is:
“To provide the public sector with the most effective digital communication solution.”

We provide a web-based software platform for government agencies, enabling them to reach the public efficiently and effectively with up-to-date information by email, mobile text message, and through social media channels.

While we frequently highlight the work done by our clients, I do not typically comment on the work we do for specific clients. GovDelivery’s role is to provide a world class platform that supports each client’s mission and communications goals. Ultimately, we are successful when our clients are able to keep the public informed. Asking GovDelivery to comment on a particular client’s outreach approach is like asking Microsoft® to comment on a letter that someone writes in Microsoft Word.

However, in the interest of full transparency, this entry addresses some frequently asked questions regarding GovDelivery’s privacy policy and our role in working with various public sector organizations in the U.S. and U.K.

What types of organizations use the GovDelivery platform, and what is GovDelivery’s role?

GovDelivery works almost exclusively with public sector organizations. GovDelivery has no commercial clients. We provide a web-based (Software as a Service) software platform that our clients use to manage outbound communication with the public through various communication channels (email, text messaging, RSS and social media). GovDelivery is never involved in fundraising or advocacy on behalf of non-profit or political organizations. While we serve the offices of many elected officials at all levels of government, we do so without regard to the political affiliation or political objectives of our clients.

Where do GovDelivery clients get the email addresses and mobile phone numbers used to reach the public through the GovDelivery digital communications platform?

GovDelivery’s clients can offer updates on specific topics through their websites, and often include a subscription sign-up (opt-in) form. Some GovDelivery clients serving a similar audience cross-promote content (topics) from related government agencies by offering subscription items from other agencies (think of this as ‘one stop shopping’ for government information that is of interest to a particular citizen). Finally, GovDelivery allows clients to upload existing contact lists into GovDelivery.

Who owns the contact information stored by GovDelivery? What is the privacy policy?

GovDelivery’s clients own the contact information they gather and store within GovDelivery. GovDelivery is simply the ‘channel’ or software platform that our clients use for communication, we do not own any of the contact information. Each client determines the privacy policy related to the contact information it gathers, stores and manages within its GovDelivery account.

Does GovDelivery ever share one GovDelivery client’s contact list with another organization?

No. GovDelivery does not share contact information collected and stored by one client with any other clients under any circumstances.

Does GovDelivery sell or distribute email lists to government entities or other organizations?

No, GovDelivery does not offer any email lists for free or for sale to its clients and does not provide any data mining services. Clients are responsible for building their own contact lists using tools provided by GovDelivery or using other means for gathering contact information from interested citizens.

How does GovDelivery prevent its system from being used to “spam” the public?

Our clients use the GovDelivery platform to communicate with the public. Because GovDelivery serves only public sector clients, messages sent through GovDelivery never fit the legal definition of spam which applies only to unsolicited commercial emails. We do not have commercial clients. We provide our clients with a broad range of tools that make it easy for citizens to choose what content they receive, when they receive it, and how they receive it. GovDelivery also provides tools that make it easy for agencies to allow subscribers to confirm subscription requests and to unsubscribe from receiving information. Furthermore, we accept unsubscribe requests on behalf of our clients by phone and by email. Not all of our clients use all of the tools available to them because not all of these measures are useful in every environment. As a software provider, GovDelivery’s role is to provide our clients with a broad range of tools to ensure that they can manage contact information effectively in a way that is acceptable to end users.

We are pleased to play an important role in helping government improve communication with the public on issues ranging from local city council meetings to national emergencies.

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions regarding the role GovDelivery plays. Although we won’t post or respond to any comments or questions related to specific clients, we are happy to respond to questions regarding our company, our policies, and the services we provide.

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2 Responses

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  • Chet Weld says:

    I do not want to receive propaganda from the present administration, but I’m not finding how to opt out. Can you tell me how to opt out?
    GovDelivery response: Any email you receive through GovDelivery should include a link that you can use to opt-out. If you prefer, you can contact info (at) govdelivery.com and request to be unsubscribed from updates related to a particular agency/entity or from all contact lists managed by GovDelivery. A universal opt-out request may lead to canceling subscriptions from your city, transit agency, etc. so we recommend simply opting out from the emails of a specific organization.
    Be aware that GovDelivery does not manage all communications across government so opting out through us may not get you opted out from all updates you are receiving. In addition, we do not work with any political organizations of any kind so you will have to deal with messages received from political parties or organizations separately.
    Our clients control and own the contact lists they manage through us and the messages they send, but we do our best to provide tools and options that make it easy to opt-out.

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