Direct Mail Nonprofit Eligibility

Direct Mail Non-Profit

Fundraising is among the greatest challenges nonprofit organizations face. The most trusted and effective methods of marketing for nonprofits donations is direct mail. There are strict postal rules to follow so your direct mail piece qualifies for nonprofit postage rates. The Neyenesch team can help you navigate postal regulations and assure you’re getting the best ROI from your direct mail budget.

Seven Rules for Nonprofit Postage:

  1. You must apply with the post office to be eligible for nonprofit rates. To apply, click here and download the forms: Forms. The process takes about two weeks.
  2. Once approved to mail at nonprofit rates, there are requirements on what you are mailing. You can only mail pieces that benefit the organization with the nonprofit authorization. You cannot mail on behalf of another company. For example, a community event approached a museum to sponsor an event and used the museum’s permit for the mailing. This is a no-no because the event is benefiting the organization and not the museum. It would not qualify for non-profit postage.
  3. Nonprofit mailings are treated like standard mail by the post office. You must have a minimum of 200 pieces to mail. If you’re a few short, mail to yourself to make count and get the lower rate. You may qualify to mail at a reduced, non-profit rate if you have fewer than 200 pieces, but the combined weight is more than 50 lbs.
  4. Be sure to include your organization’s name and return address on the mailing envelope, and prominently on the inside piece. The return address must match the address on file with the post office approved nonprofit authorization forms. This should not be a problem since branding is very important for nonprofits.
  5. You can do a cooperative mailing with another organization and mail at nonprofit rates if both organizations are approved for nonprofit status with the post office. For instance, a museum partnered with the local food bank on a food drive. Both entities mailed to their donor lists to attract them to the event. Since both are registered as nonprofit with the post office they were able to mail at nonprofit rates.
  6. There is a six-step process to determine if your content is eligible for nonprofit rates: Learn more here. The most important point is that your mail must not be selling or advertising.
  7. If mailing raffle tickets, you need to print “suggested donation” on the ticket. Other items included in the appeal must include “no donation required to enter” or add a check box that reads, “Please enter my name in the drawing. I do not wish to donate at this time.” This allows you to mail at the non-profit rate because it will not be considered a lottery.

Direct mail is a trusted and cost-effective fund-raising channel for nonprofits. Success is a balance among the story, the list, and the design.  Neyenesch has a team of experts ready to help you navigate the USPS nonprofit regulations before your campaign is designed, printed, and mailed. Getting us involved early can assure you meet and exceed your fundraising goals. Call or email today and let’s get started. 619-297-2281 or