Spam Law and Being a Friendly Sender

Sybil Davidson


One of our pastors recently got a nasty note from a salesperson when he asked to be removed from an email list. The salesperson said that the pastor's email wasn't part of a list but just a person-to-person email, so basically, the pastor should get over it and accept the unwanted sales emails.

The bad news for the salesperson is: that's illegal. And punishable with a big fine.

Businesses are required to follow the CAN-SPAM Act passed in 2003. Though I'm not clear if the law applies to all non-profits, The North Georgia Conference goes to great lengths to be sure we comply with the anti-spam laws. A big piece of the puzzle is allowing people to easily and quickly unsubscribe from Conference e-newsletters.

Your church should be sure to follow the law -- and the etiquette -- of being a friendly email sender, too. 

Some of the main points of the CAN-SPAM Act are:

  • Don't use false or misleading heading or subject line
  • Be clear about who you are and where you are
  • Tell recipients how to opt out of emails and honor the request promptly (within 10 days or fewer)
  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf

Find a very good explanation of the law and a little more detail at:  

Do you have an email policy for your church? Do you give people an option to "opt out" of your email lists? That's a good place to start.

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