March 2005 Vol. 10 Issue 1
E-mail invitation offers easy, inexpensive way to announce events

The Purdue Extension e-invitation template provides a professional look for e-mail invitations.

A new tool helps Purdue Extension specialists, educators and staff spread the word about upcoming events like meetings or workshops.

The Purdue Extension e-invitation template is based on the Purdue Extension e-newsletter and can also be found on the Purdue Extension Communication Survival Guide Web site.

The new template helps specialists, educators and staff create invitations that include appropriate Purdue Extension branding graphics and design. These invitations can then be sent as e-mail messages, so there are no costs for printing flyers or invitations.

The invitation works by sending e-mail messages in HTML format, the same format used to create Web pages. So, when readers open their e-mail, they will see professionally-designed invitations.

Of course, Extension personnel don't need to know HTML to create e-invitations. The template is designed for use with Microsoft Outlook, which means that creating an e-invitation is about as simple as writing an ordinary e-mail message.

To create an e-invitation, open Outlook on your computer, create a new mail message, then load the template into the message. Once the template is loaded, type in the title, time, place, and other information about your event, then send it.

You can even add a link to your e-mail address in the invitation. That way, readers can simply click a link and e-mail an RSVP to you.

E-mail RSVPs can be more convenient for busy people, said Scott McNeill from the communication department of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, an organization that has developed Web-based invitations.

A lot of paper can move through an office and get lost, so adding an e-mail link allows "immediate action without having to pick up a phone or stamp and mail a response," he said.

"It's a very user-friendly technology," said R. Thomas Van Arsdall, national executive director for the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research, who used a similar Web-based e-invitation for a recent event.

By using this user-friendly technology, Purdue Extension specialists, educators and staff have a tool to help them boost turnout at their events.

The Purdue Extension e-invitation is free. Click here for the template and instructions.


Kevin Leigh Smith,

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