Quaker A-Z: B is for BCC

Typewriter send a mail
Photo by Markus Winkler

Sending emails...

BCC (“blind carbon copy” – have you used carbon copying paper?) is now easy to do and doesn’t require physical winding down of actual paper on each letter sent! 

An email can be sent with three levels of recipient 

  1. To: Original recipient 
  1. CC: Someone who is “copied in”, meaning the email isn’t directed to them but they may be interested to know/read. 
  1. BCC: These people’s emails cannot be seen by anyone in the first two levels, and will not usually see anyone else’s emails in this third level. Depending on the email software being used, this level may see the email address of the people in the first two levels. 
Pros

BCC is useful if you are sending to a group of people where you don’t want their emails exposed to each other. 

Or you suspect that someone in that list will forward this email to someone outside the group and thereby expose their emails to others. A concern with data privacy and GDPR issues! 

Cons

It can also cause some people to forward the email to ensure no one is left out – usually with everyone’s emails in cc so others can check. 

Some email setups don’t strip off the BCC emails, so in that instance the BCC recipient receives the full list.  

Finally, it is hard to maintain an accurate list of people and ensure that updated list is used for each email, which causes a lot of duplicated work each time you send to that group. 

I’ll explain more about email groups, running cloud-based mailing systems, and other such tools in a later post.  

So, how can you tell the people who you’ve sent to – without including names or email addresses? 

The simplest method is to put a header on the email. I’ve found at the top of the email, rather than in the subject lines is read more often. 

For example: 

To all attenders and members of xxxxx Area Quaker Meeting  

(as included in the 2021 address list.) 

 or  

To all trustees and committee members for xxxx charity  

(not including volunteers in this mailing) 

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