Non profit mailings are intended to save the mailer postage costs but preparing a mailing can be confusing. Below are some guidelines to follow:
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.
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”
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.
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.
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. 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 8 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.
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.
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
2200 Hickory, Abilene, TX, 79698
Operator: (325) 670-1000
Campus Police: (325) 670-1461