To make direct mail even more appealing (no pun), the USPS offers affordable postage rates which can cut your postage to a fraction! Imagine postage for as little as 15 cents per piece!
Information regarding eligibility for Non-Profit Standard Mail can be found at the USPS Publication 417 – Nonprofit Standard Mail Eligibility page. Even though you may be a non-profit (501(C)(3)) for tax purposes, the USPS needs you to apply with them as well. It’s a simple USPS form, available here (PS Form 3624). Fill out the form and take it to your local PO along with the supporting documents that confirm you are indeed a non-profit. You’ll be applying for a non-profit status, for which there is NO application fee. Application approval takes about 3 weeks. Careful!... the USPS will usually offer you a mailing permit too, but don’t purchase one! A permit costs $345 plus an annual renewal fee, yikes! You’re always welcome to use our permit at no charge... just pay for the actual postage you’ve used. You want a status... but you don’t want a permit!
Non-profit mode is a special postage rate within Standard Mail (aka "bulk"). Local USPS delivery is about 3-6 work days, simply depending on what they have in their work queue. Note that appeal season is most brisk during October, November and December. Holiday time is when hearts are soft, and folks are in a giving mood. But that’s also when the USPS is at its peak. That means we need to allow extra lead time to hit our mailbox goal. (It’s also our busiest time too, when work volumes triple.) Plan ahead, start early! Some folks like to mail well before Thanksgiving, but appeal season runs strong all the way to Christmas.
The remit envelope is imperative! Your appeal letter should always include a remit envelope… that’s the envelope that has the super long flap, allowing folks to fill out their donation info, yet remain confidential. Check our website here for layout templates. Remits come in two sizes, #6-1/2 or #9. We can print your return address, logo, or any messages on either size, in black or color. And use your letter to drive people to your website to donate... consider phone donations too. Offer multiple channels to make it easy to donate!
Personalized letters increase response rates. Folks respond differently when they see their name, knowing the message is specifically for them. Include personalized merge fields within the body of the letter too, which keeps them engaged.
Color print always attracts more attention, netting higher responses. Color is sooo much more fun and interesting to read! Have us print your appeal letter, personalized and in color! Include photos, graphs and pictures of people you’ve helped. Show the benefits donating will bring.
Live stamps personalize your mail, making it appear less commercial. Yes, there are live stamps for the non-profit mail too!
Prospecting lists can be used in conjunction with your "house" list. It’s important to keep growing your donor base. We can provide you with a mailing list of folks by zip, age, gender, estimated income, etc. We’ll check to assure dupes are removed from the final mail file.
The Church Mouse image. It’s important for non-profits to have a low-key, thrifty image. Avoid high gloss or fancy paper stock, foiling, embossing or any print technique that makes it appear you are flush with funds... keep it simple. Why would folks want to donate to a non-profit that has too much money? Being personal is fine, but not flamboyant.
Track your responses. Put a code on your remit envelope to know which campaign generated the most donations. It’s not uncommon for folks to retain remit envelopes for several years. Study which letter generated the most funds and continue refining your copywriting skills. The goal is to beat your best!