Direct mail plays a critical role in fundraising for many organizations, but decision-makers are not always knowledgeable about its intricacies. The process from conception to delivery is complicated, and without proper planning you can pay too much or miss crucial deadlines. Fortunately, by effectively utilizing production management and postal logistics strategies, you can save money on direct mail fundraising and maximize its ROI.
- Production management: Proper production management saves both time and money on direct mail fundraising by carefully evaluating, pricing and comparing each option, from design through production. Choosing the most cost- and time-effective direct mail dimensions, printers, and mail shops are all key. Other critical considerations include correctly estimating spoilage, running thorough preflight and press check tests, minimizing postal costs and planning your direct mail on an annual basis.
- Postal logistics: The first step in any postal logistics initiative is to ensure the integrity of your mailing list. Make sure addresses are up-to-date and the list is free of duplicates, otherwise you are literally throwing money away.
Next, consider taking advantage of the USPS’ work share program, which offers significant postage discounts when you deliver your mail to distribution centers close to its final destination. One option is to pre-sort the mail in-house – sorting, sleeving, tagging and strapping it according to stringent regulations – and hire a freight company or drop shipper to deliver it.
An easier alternative is to work with a commingling company who will pick up your unsorted mail and combine it with mail from other sources before sorting and delivering it to its desired destination. Commingling is typically more efficient and economical, particularly when considering the added labor and freight costs of drop shipping.
Following these steps and conducting regular check-ins with your vendors will save you money, time and headaches. For more information about production management and postal logistics, download our free eBook “Cutting Your Direct Mail Production Costs to the Bone”.
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