How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

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jtm24
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How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby jtm24 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:26 pm

With the new church guideliens (1 Dec. 2012) for locating lost members and transferring records we are instructed to follow nine steps before transferring the records.

Has any one had success in using the postal service, step 2, to locate addresses of members? If you were successful how did you go about doing it?

Looking online at the United States Postal Service website, it appears you can request the information but you have to pay or you can try sending a piece of mail and ask that the forwarding address be sent to you.

davesudweeks
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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby davesudweeks » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:30 pm

This was one of the purposes of the annual Christmas letter mailed by the bishopric in a prior ward I lived in. Of course, the main purpose was to communicate to all the members, but since they used the Bishop's envelopes (which had the "address correction requested" notation on them) they usually received a few back with updated address information.

In a perfect ward, every family will have a home teacher who goes every month and will always know where they move to. I haven't lived in any perfect ward yet...

russellhltn
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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:22 pm

jtm24 wrote:or you can try sending a piece of mail and ask that the forwarding address be sent to you.


That's the way I think it's usually done. Write a letter or send a flyer of a upcoming activity. Just make sure to follow the post office standards. Personally, I think I'd go for "Return Service Requested".

The "address correction requested" mentioned previously is an outdated notation.
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aebrown
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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby aebrown » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:31 pm

russellhltn wrote:Personally, I think I'd go for "Return Service Requested".

...which is exactly what is preprinted on all official ward and stake envelopes in the US.

davesudweeks
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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby davesudweeks » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:35 am

My apologies for the wrong term - however my point was that we used the pre-printed envelopes which can be sometimes successful in locating were someone moved to. At times it has been difficult to find someone home so knowing if they are still living there or not is not a straightforward proposition.

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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby RossEvans » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:05 pm

I have found it useful to use a USPS-licensed commercial database service before we do our year-end mailing to the full ward roster to preprocess the list against the National Change of Address database.

You get back a file with more information that you get just with the physical mailing -- which you are obliged to execute anyway when you agree to the Postal Service's terms and conditions of using the NCOALink service. The physical mailing with the Return Service Requested -- of the remaining addresses not culled out for forwarding or non-deliverability in the database preprocessing -- typically yields a few additional returns.

The input file can be a CSV exported from MLS. The service's output file also yields a list of your input addresses standardized. And if your input address is undeliverable, you find out why in more detail. There is a bit of a learning curve to analyze the output, for which you need some basic skills with a spreadsheet or database program. And, of course, you still have to key the moves and changes back into MLS.

I submit a file of adult members to be processed by the service, crunch their output file and do the physical mailing by recombining the names into households in the form, "John & Jane Doe." This step is not required, but it helps maximize the forwarding hit rate and minimize postage.

There are several such licensed service providers that handle the NCOALIink database services, which you can easily find by Googling that term. I have used Anchor Computer for the past several years. Some of the extra cost of the $75-80 service is recouped in postage by not mailing to old or invalid addresses. From a clerical point of view, I think it is the most productive expenditure we make all year.

jwtaber
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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby jwtaber » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:59 pm

How much might the cost be, say, at the stake level? About the same or that many times more?

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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby RossEvans » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:25 pm

jwtaber wrote:How much might the cost be, say, at the stake level? About the same or that many times more?


With the vendor I have used, the database-processing cost for a stake-scale file would be about the same as for a ward-scale file. That is because the major component of the database cost is a $75 per-batch minimum for three-day turnaround service.

But remember that the USPS terms oblige the customer to use this for purposes of preprocessing a list for physical mailing. The biggest cost by far is the postage for that. Of course, it would be more cost-effective to spread the $75 minimum over a larger batch, if the stake is doing a mass mailing to all households.

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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby Gary_Miller » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:17 pm

RossEvans wrote:Some of the extra cost of the $75-80 service is recouped in postage by not mailing to old or invalid addresses.

There is no way my ward would ever recoupe that cost in postage. For the one mass mailing we did last year 245 households, I only had 8-10 returned with incorrect address. That is a total cost of $4.50. There is a big difference between $4.50 and $80.00.

RossEvans wrote:From a clerical point of view, I think it is the most productive expenditure we make all year.

From a financial point of view that's the most unproductive expenditure you made all year. A big waste of LUBA that could have been put to better use.

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Re: How to use Postal Service to find a forwarding address?

Postby RossEvans » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:35 pm

Gary_Miller wrote:
RossEvans wrote:Some of the extra cost of the $75-80 service is recouped in postage by not mailing to old or invalid addresses.

There is no way my ward would ever recoupe that cost in postage. For the one mass mailing we did last year 245 households, I only had 8-10 returned with incorrect address. That is a total cost of $4.50. There is a big difference between $4.50 and $80.00.

RossEvans wrote:From a clerical point of view, I think it is the most productive expenditure we make all year.

From a financial point of view that's the most unproductive expenditure you made all year. A big waste of LUBA that could have been put to better use.


We don't do it to save money. We deliberately spend a modest amount to help us realize benefits -- more efficient management of the membership records of our very large ward (approximately 550 households right now with a lot of turnover and many inactives). Trying to keep that membership roster scrubbed is a very significant and ongoing problem, and we consider the money well spent to minister to the membership and do our part to keep up their records.


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