Sneak Peek: What Nonprofits Should Know About Postal Changes for 2013
Postage plays an important budgetary role in fundraising efforts for nonprofit organizations. As you begin planning next year's budget, there are several expected changes to the postal system to be considered: The regulations on sizes and securing methods for self-mailers, as well as the upcoming switch to the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb). In addition, a postal increase is also on the horizon with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) only a few weeks away from making a final ruling on the proposed changes. All of these could affect both your budget and the number of potential donors you mail to, depending on your fundraising goals.
- Self-mailer Regulation Changes
For those nonprofits that regularly send out loose sheet folded self-mailers without an envelope get ready to make some adjustments. When the last fold of your piece is on the bottom, there must be two tabs securing the top that are placed toward either end. The maximum size of the piece is also slightly smaller and tab-sealed items cannot have a final fold on the top. These adjustments may not seem like much, but the small cost of each can add up. Doubling the cost on tabs, changing to different paper sizes, and requiring more attention and oversight on each mailing comes with a per piece price increase that could limit the size of your mailing list.
- Switching to Intelligent Mail Barcodes
Most nonprofits use an external company to handle their bulk mailings. The switch to the IMb system must be completed by your third-party provider in order to ensure that you receive the automated postal rates. The difference between the automated rates and regular postage rates can be quite significant, increasing your budget by as much as twenty-six dollars per thousand. When some mailings only cost a total of fifteen cents per item, the price difference can be tremendous.
- Postal Rate Hike in the New Year
With all of the other increases associated with bulk mailing, a hike in postage costs is an unwelcome prospect. Changes in the way postage increases are handled can virtually guarantee increased postage costs every year, but this coming year the post office is asking for a rate hike of 2.6 percent. As long as the rate hike is consistent with inflation, no external permission is required, which makes a 2.6 percent increase to postage costs almost a virtual guarantee.
Plan Now for Next Year's Changes
As long as you are prepared for the adjustments in postage costs, you can plan ahead to streamline your fundraising efforts. A few simple changes in layout and design will put your self-mailers in compliance with the new regulations, and a closer look at your mailing lists can also help. Nonprofits often mail to the same unresponsive addresses year after year. Cut some of the records that encumber your mailings and the savings will more than cover any increased postage costs. Discuss the changes with your direct mail service provider and make sure you are both on the same page for 2013. You can still post top response numbers, even with the expected rising costs.