Non profit mailings are intended to save the mailer postage costs but preparing a mailing can be confusing. Below are some guidelines to follow:
What is a non-profit mailing?
It is a mailing in which each mailpiece is exactly the same for all recipients, is sorted in zip code order and presented to the bulk mail center for acceptance. This extra work toward the mailing earns you a discounted postage price.
What are the requirements?
- At least 200 identical pieces
- Mail must be sorted by zip code
- Mailing must meet Move Update requirements through one of the following:
Address list used for the mailing must be certified as current by USPS approved software including FASTforward, NCOA link or ACS. Off campus mailing services maintain updated software and can check your address list for a fee, or;
Preprint an Ancillary Service Endorsement on the mailpiece, or;
List addressees on all pieces by name, then add “or current resident”
- Postage must be attached to the mailpiece in the form of printed postage, non-profit stamps or a non-profit permit imprint.
- Mailing must be accompanied by a signed postage statement and by payment of any remaining postage due on the mailing.
Detailed description of requirements
200 identical pieces
This is the minimum number of pieces to qualify.
Can be postcards or letters no larger than 11.5 X 6 1/8 X 5/16 or large envelopes no larger than 12 X 15 X 3/4.
The contents cannot contain statements of account, billing notices or handwritten personal mail, however you can send a form letter with a signature at the bottom.
Addresses must be printed or attached lengthwise on the mailpiece, meaning that the length of the piece must be greater than the height when reading the address. Square or rigid pieces require more postage.
Sort by zip code
Start with the smallest zip number and sort to the largest. In Abilene, the zip codes beginning with 768, 795 and 796 are considered local and cost less than the others. Segregate them from the rest of the mailing but keep them in order.
Move Update Requirements
Since we are getting a discount on the postage and the postage is what pays for postal delivery and operations, the USPS wants to ensure that each letter has a current deliverable address. Two acceptable software services exist for this; FASTforward and NCOA link. Most mailing services maintain the updates to at least one of these and can therefore run your mailing list through their program for a fee. Look for Mailing & Shipping Services in the yellow pages and call them for details and pricing.
If you are fairly confident in the accuracy of your mailing list, you may choose to include an Ancillary Service Endorsement to each mailpiece instead. An ancillary service endorsement is basically a special instruction for the mailpiece. For instance, “ Return Service Requested” will tell the post office to return the mail to sender with a reason why it wasn’t delivered. Normally if a non-profit letter is found to be undeliverable (say, the person moved or the name is not recognized for that address), it would be discarded by USPS employees who are authorized to do so. This costs USPS money. The return service endorsement causes the mailpiece to come back to you instead with the reason for non-delivery and an extra charge for that information. Be aware that each returned piece costs the first class rate plus an 9.7 cent accounting fee so if you’re not careful the cost could add up quickly.
Why would you use an endorsement? If you know your mailing list is mostly accurate, the number of mailpieces being returned would be few and could be more cost efficient than checking your address list with a mailer. Other endorsements are Address Service Requested, Forwarding Service Requested and Change Service Requested. Call the campus post office to learn what service is included with each endorsement and what the cost per piece will be.
Your third option is to include “or current resident” in the address block either above or directly after the addressee’s name. This is the simplest and most cost effective solution but it could leave the recipient with an impersonal feeling and therefore reduce the effectiveness of your mailing.
Postage and/or Payment
- Printed postage from a postage meter can be applied to your mailing at the campus post office and charged to your HSU account.
- Non-profit stamps can be purchased at the federal post office or online. After you attach these stamps to your mailpieces, you may or may not owe more money toward the postage for your mailing- it depends on the size and weight of your mailpieces. Any amount owed needs to be paid to the clerk at the bulk mail center at the time the mailing is dropped off. By the way, the bmc cannot accept checks after 4:00pm and is unable to accept charge cards altogether.
- A non-profit permit imprint can be printed or stamped onto the mailpieces to indicate that you will pay the entire postage fee at the time you drop them off at the bulk mail center. This is the most time consuming method because of the need to request a check three days in advance. You must also take care in calculating the postage costs so that your check will cover the postage amount when you arrive at the bulk mail center. If you decide to go this route, you can have the campus print shop add the imprint onto your envelopes or postcards or you can borrow a hand stamp from the campus post office and manually apply the imprint to each piece. Remember, this type postage is not good until the mailing is presented to the BMC clerk and payment is made.
Each non-profit mailing must be accompanied by a postage statement. This preprinted form tells USPS about your mailing (number of pieces, what postage is affixed, proof of move update and permit number, to name a few). The campus post office has these forms on file and can help you fill in the information required. Please be sure you use the current form each time you prepare a mailing.
Bulk Mail Entry
Now that your mailing is complete, it must be presented to the Business Mail Entry Unit(BMEU) at the USPS Mail Processing Center(MPC). This is located at:
1020 East Interstate 20
Abilene, Tx 79601
This location is on the North side of the interstate, about a mile West of the SuperWalmart. Business hours are 10:30am – 6pm, Mon-Friday. Phone number is 325-673-2449.
After you’ve done your first bulk mailing, your future mailings will seem easier each time. Please call Kathy Williams at the campus post office if you need further assistance with your mailing. 325-670-1321