Make Your Fundraising Postage Work Harder
In tough economic times, fundraisers must use all the tools at their disposal to ensure their organizations can continue to meet the demand for their services. Even with the growth of electronic communications, traditional direct mail remains an important tool for raising donations. Savvy fundraisers can make their investments in direct mail work harder by ensuring that their production vendors are using all available means to optimize their postage spends.
Using nonprofit Standard mail postage rates is easier than ever.
Qualified nonprofit organizations can stretch scarce fundraising dollars by using discounted Standard mail rates for nonprofit religious, educational, scientific, philanthropic, agricultural, labor, veterans and fraternal organizations. The U.S. Postal Service is making it easier than ever to use these rates by allowing nonprofits to submit applications online for authorization to mail at the nonprofit rates. In addition, once the application is granted, the organization is assigned an authorization number that can be used to mail at the nonprofit rates at any post office with no additional authorization required.
Get your mail in shape.
More than ever, postage rates reflect the the Postal Service’s widely varying costs for handling differently shaped mail pieces (letters, flats, parcels, etc.). The cost advantages of mailing a letter-size piece (one that is no larger than 6.125 inches tall, 11.5 inches long and 0.25 of an inch thick) are significant. The cost difference between mailing a nonprofit letter-sized piece and a nonprofit flat-sized piece can be nearly 20 cents each.
Ask your production vendor to suggest innovative and cost-effective formats that retain the appeal of your oversized mail pieces while qualifying for letter rates.
Make sure your addresses are complete, correct and current.
Using high-quality addresses is another way to ensure your postage dollars work as hard as they possibly can. If a Standard mail piece cannot be delivered as addressed, it will be discarded by the Postal Service. To ensure your fundraising solicitation has the best chance of reaching potential donors, be sure your service provider is processing your mailing list with CASS-certified address hygiene software including Delivery Point Validation. Additionally, Move Update processing helps your mail keep up with the more than 17 percent of the American population that moves each year. For nonprofit Standard mail — especially using rented lists — Move Update is typically accomplished using NCOALink® processing.
Kurt Ruppel is Director Postal Policy and Marketing Communications at IWCO Direct. He is a member of the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) and serves on the Board of Directors at the Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA), where he is also Vice Chair of the EMA’s Postal Affairs Committee. He can be reached at email@example.com.