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We often see nonprofit mailers leverage both First Class and Marketing Mail for their fundraising direct mail programs. There have been some long-standing assumptions in place as to why one might choose one USPS mail class over the other.
With the Postal Services revision to the First-Class Service Standards (see our blog about that here) that began rolling out in October of 2021, it may be time to take a look at your 2022 Mail Plan. Let’s consider if your planned methods for mail entry still make the most sense for your campaigns!
Starting this Fall the First-Class Service Standards changed from 2-3 days to 2-5 days with the furthest distances from point of entry to mailbox being pushed out to the new 4- and 5-day targets. Keep in mind that Service Standards are goals the USPS sets for themselves, aren’t guaranteed and in reality, we know they aren’t always met. Because we monitor Mail Delivery trends closely and for the sake of this example, we will use 4.5-5 days as an average amount of time it takes a national Non-Profits First Class mail to deliver to donors.
Knowing that many Non-Profits leverage postal logistics solutions such as commingling and drop shipping for their Marketing Mail Letters we’ll use 12 days as an average amount of time it takes for this mail to deliver to donors.
Non-profit mailers typically leverage Retail Rates or Commercial Presort rates when mailing First Class. Average prices will look a lot like this;
While Non-profit Marketing Mail postage varies for this example, we will use $.162 assuming again that a postal logistics partner is being utilized.
Many of us have this preconception that First Class Mail will be in home quickly. But the truth is the time it takes to deliver First-Class mail has slowly been extending and in the world we live in where we can quick click order a brand-new wardrobe to deliver overnight, 5 days doesn’t even feel quick at all. So, should you continue to pay premium prices for this slower delivery? Or should we consider mailing some programs as Marketing Mail Letters? Use this guide as you review your 2022 Mail Plans and ask yourself these questions;
|Mail Class||Postage||Days In Home||How much more am I spending to Mail First Class?||How much faster am I getting
In – Home?
|First Class Retail||$0.58||5||$0.42||7 days|
|First Class Commercial Presort||$0.43||4.5||$0.27||7.5 days|
|Marketing Mail Letters||$.162||12|
We’re not diving into the intrinsic perception the donor will have when pulling the envelope out of the mailbox. Placing a First-Class Stamp on a mail piece isn’t the same as pre-printing a Company Permit and we’re not attempting to say that it is. From a Creative Strategy standpoint deciding to apply a First –Class stamp may be an important element that you don’t want to compromise. An example may be on a mail piece where the donors’ address is shown in a Real Handwriting font. What we encourage you to consider is whether mailing First Class is essential to these two key factors that impact the ways you interact with your donors:
Both mail classes will no doubt be a part of Non-Profit mailers programs for years to come but if we have your attention at this moment we hope that this information will at least get you questioning your own programs and validating the mail classes you’ll be leveraging next year. We’re experts on Mail Delivery here at PS and welcome discussions at a closer level on your individual program planning.
Carolyn, PS’ Director of Resource and Postal Affairs, has been serving with PS since 2016. With over 24 years of experience in our industry, Carolyn has a deep knowledge about sourcing and managing supplier relationship across various operational areas and a signiﬁcant portion of her career has been focused on direct mail, fulﬁllment and postal topics. Carolyn deﬁnes clear expectations and she understands and conveys PS’ mission with authentic communication and care.
Carolyn is from Randolph, New Jersey and she telecommutes full-time from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Carolyn enjoys spending time with her three kids, Crossﬁt, volunteering in her kids’ Cub Scout Pack and swooning over Mid-Century modern architecture and furnishings.