Communicating with the members of an organization

As an organization owner, you may need to reach out to the members of your organization with important information. Most people immediately think to gather users’ email addresses so they can email all the members. However, the email addresses that users associate with their accounts belong to the user account, not to the organization, so they may not be available for privacy reasons. Even as an organization owner, you will only be able to retrieve email addresses for users that have chosen to make their emails public.

Alternative Communication Options

GitHub has a number of built in features you can use to communication with your organizations members.

Create a Private Repository for Organization Communication

If you have information that needs to be shared with the whole organization, but you don’t want members outside of the organization to see it, then creating a private repository just for communication might make sense for you. Members can watch the repository to make sure they don’t miss anything, and you can create issues for new updates and store relevant data like how-to guides as files in the repository. You may also want to include a file in the repository where organization members have the option to add information about themselves so other users can know their real name or the time zone they work in, for example.

Discussions

Team Discussions

If you’ve already created a team in your organization, team discussions are a great way to communicate with a subset of members within your organization. Posts can either be public (so all members of the organization can view them) or private (so only members of a specific team can see them).

GitHub Discussions

GitHub Discussions is currently in beta for public repositories. Given its public nature, they may not be suited to all organization communication, but they are a good alternative to issues or pull requests when you want to have a conversation that isn’t directly related to an update in the repository code.

User Audits

Sometimes users want to access organization member’s email addresses to perform an audit on the organization users; either to determine if users all have a valid, organization email, or to link names to GitHub users. Having a file in a private repository where users can add this information can help this, but there is no way to require users share this information.

For organizations using GitHub Enterprise Cloud, once an organization verifies their domain then owners can restrict email notifications for the organization to that domain. In addition, once the domain is verified and the Corporate Terms of Service are agreed to, organization owners are able to view each member’s email address within the verified domain. They will still not be able to see personal email addresses that may also be associated with member accounts though.

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