Reduced Postage For Church Units?

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mattprasmussen
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Reduced Postage For Church Units?

Postby mattprasmussen » Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:58 pm

As a branch president of a geographically large unit - three counties - mailings are a regular part of our operations. I send letters to each of 230+ households for Easter and Christmas. Then there's the constant mailing of fast offering checks, mail to stake members, and regular stuff like that. It's a significant portion of our yearly budget. Isn't there a way to use a reduce postage rate since the Church is a bona fide non-profit organization?

Even the monthly mailings from Church headquarters don't seem to use reduced rates. Looking at the number of units, postage is undoubtedly a large expense. I get junk mail from a number of non-profit organizations that pay .04 cents an envelope. Same with politicians. I'm not looking for a postage meter to be added to our clerk's office but there has to be some way to reduce this cost. Has anyone else here done something about this in their unit or is there someone at CHQ I should contact?

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:52 pm

Matt_Rasmussen wrote:As a branch president of a geographically large unit - three counties - mailings are a regular part of our operations. I send letters to each of 230+ households for Easter and Christmas. Then there's the constant mailing of fast offering checks, mail to stake members, and regular stuff like that. It's a significant portion of our yearly budget. Isn't there a way to use a reduce postage rate since the Church is a bona fide non-profit organization?

Even the monthly mailings from Church headquarters don't seem to use reduced rates. Looking at the number of units, postage is undoubtedly a large expense. I get junk mail from a number of non-profit organizations that pay .04 cents an envelope. Same with politicians. I'm not looking for a postage meter to be added to our clerk's office but there has to be some way to reduce this cost. Has anyone else here done something about this in their unit or is there someone at CHQ I should contact?

This is a technology forum and your question is really not a technology one so I don't know if you will get much response for it. Sorry. I recommend you talk with the Stake President and together you may have a number that you could call at CHQ to ask this question.

Tom

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:19 pm

Your best bet is to explore http://www.usps.com and see what you can find. There are lower rates, but as far as I could find it was just for bulk mailing. For example for "Standard Rate" you have to send 200 pieces at a time and spend $160/year for a annual filing. Probably not workable for the quantity you're looking at.

My only suggestion is to see how much of the correspondence could be replaced with email and/or the Local Unit Web page.

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Postby daddy-o-p40 » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:22 am

I was involved with a Direct Mail development effort in the early 90's. My company at the time was branching out into the catalog business. Needless to say we went to a lot of seminars and workshops. There was never a mention of discounted postage except in bulk mailing scenarios.

One tip I can offer is to put the words "Adress Service Requested" beneath the return address. This is a big help as it instructs the post office to notify you when people have moved. Otherwise they are not obligated to notify you and just keep forwarding the mail until the forwarding order expires.
"What have I done for someone today?" Thomas Monson

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Reduced Postage

Postby The_Earl » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:03 pm

I did some consulting with a postage meter company. There are a few things you can do to get reduced postage. Most are tied to a postage meter and a database, so not really the solution you are looking for. Some, like bar codes, you could do with your software, but I am not sure how the PO regulates that, you may have trouble getting your postman to pick up a letter with reduced postage.

Online postage retailers may be able to print reduced postage. Stamps.com offers some services similar to postal meters.

Check with CHQ, your leadership and the local PO for the best way to approach this.

mattprasmussen
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Postby mattprasmussen » Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:24 pm

tomw wrote:This is a technology forum and your question is really not a technology one so I don't know if you will get much response for it.

Yes, but I was hoping that there would be a technology solution that could be used for all units (as well as finding out if we were entitled to reduced postage rates.)

I would like just to be able to access non-profit rate stamps but would love knowing that the next update of MLS could print addresses and bitmap postage on envelopes to members in our unit. Now that's a feature.:cool:

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Postby jeffphil-p40 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:21 am

While this wouldn't work as well with personal or individual mailings, if you're sending out something to everyone in the ward here is one idea. Design your item with a little rectangle in the corner to which a postage stamp could be affixed. Instead of having the box say "Place stamp here", have it read "No postage necessary if delivered by home teachers".

Run off copies for every household in the ward, and affix the household mailing address labels to each piece. Then distribute them in church meetings not to the recipient but to their home teachers. Let it be up to the home teacher to either deliver the item to the person, or to affix their own stamp to cover over this little reminder for those they neglected to visit.

Unfortunately this won't guarantee that everyone will receive the item as intended, but in exchange it should improve your home teaching percentage.

-Jeff

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Postby bhofmann-p40 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:38 am

jeffphil wrote: "No postage necessary if delivered by home teachers".


Very clever!

mattprasmussen
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Follow Up

Postby mattprasmussen » Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:37 am

Just as a follow up, I've looked into getting non-profit postage for our unit. With a centralized information system in MLS, I thought it would be possible to print non-profit rate postage and have the charges deducted accordingly. Not that I thought MLS currently did that, but just that it was possible. I see now why it won't work that way and it has to do with the USPS, not with MLS or Church Headquarters.

To mail with non-profit postage, you must obviously apply for the status but then you must also have registered with the post office where you will deliver your mail. Since every unit would not deliver mail to a post office in SLC, it wouldn't work. Beyond that, there is an annual fee of $160. That pretty much makes up the difference our unit would save if we were to file alone so it's not worth the effort. There's also a $160 fee for bulk mailing status if you tried to go that route.

My ultimate goal was to save the Church a ton of money being spent on postage throughout the country. Maybe the last resort would be to have the postage applied using CHQ's mailing status to the envelopes when they're printed and then shipped to the bishop that way. He would still have to file at the local post office where mail would be delivered, which I don't see a fee for yet. However, I know that adds a number of complexities to a simple process of getting envelopes to the Bishop.

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Postby emckirdy » Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:57 pm

There is one quick solution you can use to take advantage of non-profit bulk mail rates, but it would involve receiving a letter from the IRS designating your ward/branch/stake/whatever as a 501 (c) 3 organization (i.e. not-for-profit). Technically, all wards and branches are, but under the general umbrella of the Church's own non-profit status.

But with that letter and designation from the IRS, you can go to the business mail entry unit of the post office and fill out a form to create a non-profit status with the post office. After that, you can contract the services of a local bulk mail house to send out your mailings for you on their permit. They can get the non-profit rate for you as long as your address is the return address on the mailpiece.

It was also mentioned that you should put "Address Service Requested" on the mailpiece. That's nice, but every time the post office corrects an address, they charge you $1.25 now, I think it is. That can come back to haunt a lot of mailers.


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