Contact Database Requirements

Salesforce, ListServ, and Cvent: Find out which platform to use for Extension marketing and communications.

Here you will find the expectations of where contact information lives throughout the various platforms used for communications and marketing. This list will be updated as we continue to migrate to the new platforms.


Salesforce is the system of record for all direct (snail) mail contacts used for marketing purposes. This means that once your data has been migrated to Salesforce, this is the only system in which it should be managed. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • General public and customer newsletters
  • Invitations to workshops of publicly listed events of programs

Additional non-marketing lists have also been migrated to Salesforce. (Note: not all of the specified lists have been migrated throughout Extension). This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Internal communication lists
    • Staff / educator lists
    • Former employee lists
    • Volunteer, part-time, and freelance lists
  • Stakeholder lists
    • Board members / meeting lists
    • Political figures (local / state)
    • Partners
  • Other miscellaneous direct mailing lists that were sent to Ag Communications and uploaded to Salesforce.


ListServs will serve as the primary email platform for all marketing communications for the time-being, until migration to the new email platform (Salesforce Marketing Cloud) is complete. This is to ensure outbound email messages are CAN-SPAM compliant. This includes any email lists or databases that were discovered during the Salesforce Migration. It is the list manager’s responsibility to create and manage a ListServ for distribution.

Reminder: A commercial (or marketing) email is any email used for the promotion, marketing, or sale of Penn State, College of Ag Sciences or Penn State Extension products, services, or events, or research to any individual outside of the email domain. Examples of these include, but are not limited to, newsletters, event emails (such as invitations or updates), post-program surveys, or the promotion of products, services, and educational resources.

Marketing lists from the following platforms are required to be ListServs:

  • Filemaker Pro lists
  • Excel lists
  • Outlook distribution lists
  • Zimbra

The following external Email Service Providers or survey platforms are exempt from being created as a ListServ for the time being, as these services follow CAN-SPAM compliance requirements. You may continue to use these services in the short term, but they will also be required to migrate to Salesforce in the near future. These services may include but are not limited to:

  • iContact
  • Constant Contact
  • MailChimp
  • Qualtrics

ListServ must be used for all marketing email communication or email communications that previously used a BCC method via Outlook or another system. Sending of emails like this using a BCC method will no longer be permitted due to the fact that these communications are not CAN-SPAM compliant.

Marketing email communications include but are not limited to:

  • General public and customer newsletters
  • Invitations to workshops of publicly listed events of programs

Refer to the Email Marketing Guidelines for more information about sending marketing emails and complying with CAN-SPAM.

‘Private’ lists that customers can’t subscribe to, such as committee meetings or internal communications, are not required to be a ListServ, but you still have the option to improve communications with this grouping.


If your email list is a ListServ, you will be unable to import this list into Cvent at this time. You can send your ListServ the invitation and reminders to sign up. Cvent will still handle reminders to attend after a person has registered. This is because of a limitation of ListServs that do not allow you to track First Name and Last Name on all contacts which is a requirement of Cvent.  Note: This is temporary until ListServs are transitioned to marketing automation.

Previous years' attendees and contact lists will still be sent invitations through Cvent. Note: these emails are considered CAN-SPAM compliant.

What to Avoid

Any file, list, or database (FileMaker, Excel, etc.) that was migrated to Salesforce or a ListServ should no longer be used as a system of record. Continuing to use these files will create inconsistencies of data with our platforms. It is the district's or list manager's responsibility to discontinue  the use of legacy lists. If the list was provided to Ag Communications, it has been archived with Ag Communications.

Database Change Log sheets that were used during the Salesforce county migration should be considered archived, and any contact information collected should be entered or updated within Salesforce.


Please note that the following programs are exempt at this time. These systems will remain separate and will not be included in the Salesforce migration process, but may be included in a future phase of Atlas.

  • 4-H
  • Master Gardener
  • Better Kid Care
  • Nutrition Links
  • Urban County Centers
  • Other small programs with separate systems or exemptions