Sending email invitations and obtaining authorization

Email invitations can be sent in multiple ways. Here we describe three basic approaches. This problematic which is technically and methodologically pretty complex and also dynamic (it is changing rapidly) is described in greater detail in book Web Survey Methodology in chapter 2.4 about technical preparations for survey. In the narrowest sense it is found in department (Email settings).

The standard methods of conducting online surveys

Two email messages (i.e. invitations) sent to the entire list of respondents with no tracking are sufficient in the majority of cases:

  • In the first email invite all potential respondents with an email invitation, such as for example: “I kindly invite you to participate in a survey…”
  • The second mail should be sent after two or three days, but no longer than a week after the first mail was sent. Once again you address the entire list of potential respondents (those who have already participated as well as those who have not yet participated) with a uniform statement, such as for example: “You were invited to participate in a survey recently … We thank all those who have participated. Those who have not yet had the chance to participate, we once again kindly ask you to take part in the survey.”

The two messages are sent to the entire list of potential respondents using the standard method of email correspondence, by which you send the URL to the survey by using your preferred email provider (Gmail, Yahoo, MS Outlook, Thunderbird ...). You must be careful to take into account possible limitations of the providers, since certain providers limit the number of emails sent each day (for example, Gmail had a limit of 500 emails a day for individuals and 2000 emails for organizations in 2014). This issue can be resolved by dividing the delivery of email invitations into several days or sending the email invitations from multiple accounts.

If invitation is sent from your email, this has another extra advantage. The same URL can be sent to all respondents of a survey, because in the case of tracking (point 2 and 3) URL address is individualized which can be noticed by users. This advantage should by emphasized in the survey invitation (eg. "We guarantee complete privacy of your answers and therefore survey URLs are not individualized"). This can contribute to substantially higher response rate, because many respondents are bothered by the fact that they receive individualize, because they are aware that that enables insight into individual answers. Experiences with evaluate surveys in this sense are very positive. Students who see single survey URL tend to provide more in depth and honest answers than when survey URLs are not single.

Special cases

If you wish to send the respondents a larger number of invitations (three, four, etc.) or if the list of respondents includes several thousands of email addresses, then it is more likely that you will require the use of an email delivery system.

When using 1KA's email system, you must take the following provisions into account:

  • The use of 1KA's system for email invitations is usually not necessary, especially if we wish to send a couple of hundred mails, as it is quicker and easier to send them from your own email account (Gmail, Yahoo, MS Outlook, Thunderbird,…)
  • The system enables you to track the status of the respondent and sends reminders to those that have not yet participated in the survey.
  • It is worth considering if the third and fourth reminders are necessary. It has been proven that the effect on the participation rate is minimal, and it only further complicates and prolongs the data collection phase. You must take into account the fact that the use of email addresses for survey research without the consent of the user is not permitted. Thus you can only sent email invitation to those addressees that have given their consent or it is evident from the survey context that it a matter of an external evaluation of users, whose email addresses were collected in the administrative process of an organization in which you have authorization and permission to manage email accounts. The user must thus ensure that they will not use the 1KA system to invade the privacy or others or send out spam messages, or for any other misuses, as outlined in the Terms of Use and the Anti-spam policy.
  • There is one important advantage to sending the email invitations from your private email account. You can send an identical URL to all respondents, which is worth mentioning in the invitation. For example: “We will ensure the complete anonymity of your answers, as the survey URLs have not been individualized.” This contributes to greater participation, since many respondents are bothered by the fact that they receive an individualized URL, which they know allows insight into their individual answers.

The right to use the email system and the Terms of Use

A user is authorized to use 1KA's email invitation system by filling out this form, in which the user explains their requirements and in accordance with the Terms of Use and the Anti-spam policy ensures that they will not send invitations to strangers and will invite only those individuals that have given their explicit consent or if it is a matter of an external evaluation of users whose email addresses were collected in the administrative process of an organization in which you have authorization and permission to manage email accounts(association members, student course, clients, personal area network, etc.).