With the latest postage rate changes in July 2022 came not just adjustments to outgoing mail postage rates, but also to return mail. And just like with outgoing rates, the new postage rates for return mail are adding even more cost to your direct mail program. Many non-profit organizations utilize “Courtesy Reply Mail” (CRM) envelopes in their campaigns that require the recipient to pay for their own stamp to return their donations. Other organizations experience boosted response rates from their campaigns by including a “Business Reply Mail” (BRM) envelope instead. These BRM envelopes are tied to a permit that is pre-funded by the organization and so the donor does not have to pay for the return postage.
But what many of these organizations do not realize is that there are a few options when it comes to these BRM permits! And depending on your expected annual return quantities, you may have the chance to save on the cost of your BRM returns. Here is a breakdown of each class and the CURRENT (as of July 2022) costs for each:
As you can see, the last option is only truly worthwhile to the highest volume mailers in the country! But I’m sure you’re asking yourself what this “Qualification” process is – because option #2 above is likely the one that sticks out to you the most. $.66 per return AND the envelope can be up to 3.5oz? It’s a no-brainer! But let’s pump the brakes for a minute:
QBRM is a subset of business reply mail whereby permit holders distribute reply pieces that qualify for lower postage prices and per-piece fees. In addition to meeting several eligibility requirements, there is an annual authorization review of the reply envelope itself. Not only that, but if a substantial number of returns do not match the exact size and weight of the originally approved piece, the permit can be revoked.
One of the reasons for concern is that believe it or not, many return envelopes come back with more than just the reply slip and a donation check. Some people return coins, donations all in bills, or even things that aren’t a donation at all (like rocks or even garbage!). For that reason (or more likely, the desire to not have to jump through USPS hoops, many non-profits choose option #3 above for “High Volume” BRM.
Here at Production Solutions, we have crafted a simple “BRM calculator” that focuses on the annual return quantity to help make this decision clearer. We are happy to offer this tool to you free of charge here!
If you have any questions about beginning the process of QBRM, just reach out to your friendly PS contact to begin!