Getting approved to mail at the nonprofit rate is a big deal. On average it, will save you about 10 cents apiece in postage compared to the regular rate for bulk mail. However, when the nonprofit rate is compared to the cost for using a regular first-class stamp, you're looking at a savings of closer to 29 cents apiece-this is huge!
The postage rate increase scheduled for Jan 22nd, 2012, will not increase postage for those who mail letter-sized pieces at the nonprofit rate. This means that being approved to mail at the nonprofit rate will save you even more money starting in 2012.
Is it free to get approved to mail at the nonprofit rate? The number one misconception about mailing at the nonprofit rate is that there is a fee. The reality is that it's 100% free to get approved to mail at the nonprofit rate.
Now that you know it's free, you've got no excuses. Here's a link to an earlier post that explains the steps required to get approved, and also includes a link to the form that you'll need to complete.
Please understand that the USPS must first review your application, and this can take weeks.
If you are approved, however, you will receive a form in the mail that looks just like the once included below.
The form from the USPS will list your 6 or 7 digit authorization number. You'll want to make sure that this information is included on all bulk mail paperwork submitted by you or by a third party bulk mail professional like me.
Who qualifies to mail at the nonprofit rate? I was recently contacted by a 501C6 that did not qualify to mail at the nonprofit rate.
If you're not sure if your organization qualifies, a simple rule of thumb is that if donations to your organization are tax deductible in the US, then you most likely qualify. Here's a link to the USPS site, that explains more specifically who does/does not qualify.
What other restrictions are there? Once you're approved, the USPS wants to make sure that the purpose of your mailings is to benefit your organization and not a for-profit business. Rules are especially strict when partnering with credit card companies, insurance agencies or travel agencies. Read this short post for full details regarding this.
Is there such a thing as the first-class nonprofit rate? No, there's no such thing as the first-class nonprofit rate-this is despite people talking about this fictitious rate all the time.
Still confused? Here's a link to a short post that attempts to make sense of the different classes of bulk mail offered by the USPS.
Mailing at the nonprofit rate is a phenomenal way to save money and stretch limited resources. Too much money is wasted by nonprofits each year simply because they are not aware of this, or they have not taken the time to complete and submit the required paperwork. Please share this with any friends in the nonprofit industry who you think could benefit from this.
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What’s your experience mailing at the nonprofit rate? Please share your comments below.