Are you wasting money on postage? Part 2

nonprofits can save money mailing fundraising appeal letters


Guest blog by Blase Ciabaton



Sometimes it’s better to use first class postage, but more often it’s a waste of money for nonprofit organizations.


In Part 1, we looked at some common reasons nonprofits offer for using first class postage, and an explanation of why it might be unnecessary. Today we’ll examine more reasons.



Our donors pay more attention to first class mail

If you feel that an envelope with a stamp on it gets more attention, then consider using precancelled stamps. This does not increase postage in any way, and looks exactly like first class postage. It does not involve a printed permit or meter.


Our board members want us to use first class postage

If this is the case, then hug your board members who are asking for this, tell them how much you appreciate their dedication and support, but explain that this is an area where you will not compromise. Do not permit the irrational wasting of your organization’s money on postage.


If board members refuse to acquiesce on this point, then at least consider doing an A/B campaign where half of the pieces use first-class postage and the other half are mailed at the nonprofit rate. Track response to the campaign and see if there is a statistical difference. Make sure that you put your office and home address on the nonprofit postage test list so that you will have personal experience with how long it takes for the mail piece to get delivered.


How much money are we talking about anyway?

Did you know that it costs at least 20 cents a piece more to use the first class postage rate instead of the nonprofit rate? The automated nonprofit postage rate is about 15 cents a piece while the first-class presort rate is about 35 cents a piece. In an even more extreme case, regular unsorted first class postage is 44 cents a piece, making the difference as much a 30 cents a piece. Simply multiply these numbers by the size of your database to get a real sense on how much money you could be saving per campaign.


The bottom line is that any money saved on postage can be used:

1)      to market to a larger audience

2)      to send additional appeal campaigns each year

3)      to reduce your administrative expenses and gain more benefits for those you serve

4)      fill in the blank



About the Author: In 2009, Blase Ciabaton used his six years of expertise as a direct mail professional to launch the blog www.TheDirectMailMan.com. The blog caters to the nonprofit community and tackles issues related to postage permits, mailing lists, returned mail and donor conversion.



Fundraising Assets helps busy fundraising professionals raise more money, save valuable time and reduce costs. We offer consulting, writing, design and production services for direct mail and e-mail fundraising, social networking and more.

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