"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stamp Away: Bulk Mailing for the Storyteller

I will mail 500+ "Save the Date" postcards for the "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" premiere and so I researched bulk mailing to see if it applied to me.

This may not be a huge number, though it was large enough a number to meet some of the "rules" of bulk mailing set by the United States Postal Service.

If you check with the main postal office for your area, there is usually a free short course on preparing bulk mail offered every week. Though I did not attend one of these workshops, I did learn much from the United States Postal Service website.

In order to receive the reduced postage rates through bulk mail, then a permit is required. At this time, it costs $180/year and it does not matter how often you use it with such savings like 42 cents for First Class reduced to as little as 21.6 cents.

Yet, to get this low rate, there is extra work to do so as to save time for the USPS. This could mean adding and printing barcodes for each of the addresses in the database. Having the 5-digit zip code plus the four extra numbers would be required for each of the addresses, too. Special software is out there to make this process easier (see Postage $aver Low-Cost Software for Postal Bulk Mail).

As in relating to my "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" premiere, between the permit and the extra work to earn the reduced rate, it did not seem worth it.

Eventually I plan to be more regular in sending postcards. Then gaining the permit and software may be helpful. Paying the full First Class rate is not so bad in the meantime.

Right when I had decided to be "normal" in sending the postcards, I learned about the option of Standard Class (Third Class). As I have always sent items by First Class, I did not explore what may be available if I did not mind the mail taking slower to arrive at its destination. Standard class is usually denied unless there are at least 500 pieces that are the same in messages with no personal additions. Even signing them could be considered "personal".

I like adding the human touch through a signature.

Again, I debated if I wanted Standard Class, especially when the mail does not forward or get returned to you in case the address is off. Then I learned that Standard Class is not available for postcards.

This made my decision-making easy. I would send the postcards as I have sent postcards in the past--with First Class stamps.

At least the time spent in research will help me as I use postcard marketing more often.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

1 comment:

Professional Storyteller Rachel Hedman said...

Thanks for the shoutout!

A couple clarifications:

1.) The minimum for standard class mail is 200 pieces. The 500-piece
minimum is for first class presort.

2.) Postcards ARE allowed under standard class. In general, though, you get a better rate on postcards using first-class presort. That's assuming that by postcard you mean the little ones that you can mail with a 27 cent stamp. Anything bigger and you're better off with standard class.

Hope that's helpful.

Scott Hochberg
Postage $aver Software