Having an interesting issue here whereby if I create a group in Civi to email, the actual recipient list is much smaller than the total number of contacts with an email in that group.

For a recent mailing, we had about 1766 contacts selected to email. However, on the next screen, only 289 contacts are expected to receive the email. I thought perhaps this was only an estimate, and scheduled the email. Once it sent (successfully) it indeed only went to 289 contacts. Just to clarify, it was 100% successful in sending, so it's not as if the system attempted to send to all of the contacts in the group but failed.

I compared some members in the group that didn't get the email to members that did, thinking it might be a communication preference or something like that. I couldn't find anything between the contacts that received the email that differed from those who didn't.

I'm on Wordpress running Civi 4.7.21.

2 Answers 2


Reasons that come to mind for bulk emails not being sent to certain contacts:

  • Contacts with duplicate email address (only one contact will receive the email unless you uncheck the "Dedupe by email" option next to the Recipients box).
  • Contact has no email address which is marked either Primary or Bulk-Mailings and is not marked On-Hold.
  • Either of the following privacy settings:

    • Do not email
    • NO BULK EMAILS (User Opt Out)
  • Thanks for the reply. I checked the options you mentioned, and none of those seem to be the reason. I threw some screen shots on imgur here (imgur.com/a/yABKa). This is one contact that is listed in the group I created, but doesn't get picked up when I create a mailing with that group.
    – tdk2fe
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 3:58
  • I'm actually wondering if this is related to perhaps a conflicting plugin and javascript? I can't seem to test this workflow on the demo site (no way to send email) but we've had a few issues with Slider Revolution conflicting with some of the stuff on the Civi side. Do you think this could be a possible culprit?
    – tdk2fe
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 4:06
  • I think it's unlikely that your slider or other unrelated plugins could cause this but, as I have no other ideas, you could try temporarily disabling them. Do you have any custom plugins that employ Civi hooks? You should check the Civi log file for any related messages. I know you've compared the working and not-working contacts, but you might create some test contacts and try to determine the pattern. Finally, as a last resort, you could step through the code with a debugger. Perhaps someone else can suggest another possible cause for your problem.
    – BobS
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 17:43
  • FYI: The demo site civicrm.demo.civihosting.com allows to to create contacts & groups and compose (if not send) a mailing, so you can at least see how many contacts in the selected recipient group would receive the mailing. Also, in desperation, you could try clearing the Civi caches -- Administer | System Settings | Cleanup Caches and Update Paths.
    – BobS
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 17:56
  • Well, i've ruled out any plugins with webhooks into civi. Currently i'm sifting through the Mysql general log to see if I can identify the queries used and replicate, hopefully to understand what the differences between the contacts are.
    – tdk2fe
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 1:31

So it looks like this is related to NULL values in the "is_deceased" field in CiviCRM. It looks like setting this value to 0 manually (using actual SQL) mitigated the issue. However, I'm not sure how to prevent this in the future other than perhaps explicitly setting the is_deceased on all of our bulk imports in the future.

Update This appears to be the same issue encountered in this thread: CiviMail Does Not Send To A Whole Group

  • I just looked at my DB and "is_deceased" are all 0 or 1, not NULL (I'm running on Drupal but I doubt there should be any difference). I think you need to determine why that field is being set NULL in the first place. How are your contacts being created/updated? Are you importing from CSV? From Webforms? Something else?
    – BobS
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 5:41
  • Yeah, we took the bulk of our contacts from a CSV import from various sources (other signup forms, manual entry, etc). Manual creation of them doesn't seem to cause this, so I suspect it's something on the import side from those other sources.
    – tdk2fe
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 11:49
  • I'm guessing you're using an import map that contains the "is_deceased" field, but the csv has blanks in that column.
    – BobS
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 18:04

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