Nonprofit mailing: Correct way to bulk mail at the nonprofit rate
November 17, 2007 7:37 AM   Subscribe

I understand that there are three different ways to adhere postage for bulk nonprofit mailings. Permit imprint, pre-canceled stamps or a postage meter. However we are getting conflicting information from our local post office and the USPS. Can we print postage with the meter at the non-profit rate and not use the permit imprint number?

We have a postage meter that we would like to use. It my understanding that for a bulk nonprofit mailing it possible to use the meter as long as it prints the nonprofit slug, the correct bulk postage and no date.

The local post office says we need to use the permit imprint number (#1438) even if we are printing postage on the meter. The meter (Neopost) has no way to print this number. The USPS website is not the helpful.

Also, who can we talk to at the USPS to get the correct info? Thanks!
posted by mac-way to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
you can't use the meter for a bulk mailing as bulk mail has to be sorted by zip and banded. BTW, not something you want to do yourself.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:18 AM on November 17, 2007

You can find companies that will take your mail and combine it with other mail in order to gain bulk rates.

Whether or not they can help you qualify for the non-profit bulk, I couldn't say.
posted by oddman at 9:32 AM on November 17, 2007

Response by poster: We are qualifty (applied and approved by USPS) for the nonprofit rate.

bkeene12 - if it a small mailing 300-400 its not a problem to sorted our selfs.

The main question is: Can we print postage with the meter at the non-profit rate and not use the permit imprint number?
posted by mac-way at 9:56 AM on November 17, 2007

Do you have a meter account number? If you don't, it's a trivial matter to add one to your permit account.
posted by faceonmars at 11:13 AM on November 17, 2007

Best answer: If you have a meter account, it will be linked to your permit account. You might have to give the local BMEU the meter number that you'll be using. That meter number is given to you by the meter vendor and can be used to identify the piece. Since the number of the meter is on every piece, the permit number does not have to be displayed.

I am a BMEU clerk. My email is in my profile, so if you have any questions, just write.
posted by faceonmars at 11:24 AM on November 17, 2007

Do you have the minimum number in the mailing to qualify for the nfp bulk rate? We're talking several hundred minimum-- when we finally threw in the towel and started using a mailing service (about 7 years ago, when the requirements just got too hairy) the minimum was 250 pieces, and I believe it's gone up. That's an awful lot of mail to send through the meter.

Plus, with smaller mailings, your bulk savings are hugely offset by the looooong delay from drop to hit. Depending on the type of mailing, you might want to really think about this. Send specific details via MeMail if you'd like specific examples (IAAnfp Pro)

I'd use pre-cancelled stamps, but you need a separate permit, in addition to your nfp bulk permit for that. You do not need to print the permit # on the envelopes, as this is covered when you purchase the stamps.
posted by nax at 5:56 PM on November 17, 2007

Another thought: rather than contacting the PS, try going to a direct mail service. They should be able to answer your questions (although they'll try to sell you on the service, and frankly, they have a point.)
posted by nax at 6:02 PM on November 17, 2007

Best answer: Actually, the minimum for presorted standard mail (including nonprofit mail) is 200 pieces or fifty pounds.

Again, if you have a permit account and need a meter or precancelled stamp account, it will take about 5 minutes to set it up. It's best to set up the account before you show up with your mailing.
posted by faceonmars at 7:10 PM on November 17, 2007

For the love of everything good in the world, please take a sample mailing down to the bulk mail office and ask them. I used to do this every month for a nonprofit in Cleveland and everytime we did SOMETHING wrong. I even took the freaking class they offered but still something would be wrong. If you just go down and ask it will save you a lot of trouble. The clerks would rather you ask now than come down with thousands of mismarked pieces. Also, perhaps take a second to appreciate the inner workings of the post office most people never get to see.
posted by sadie01221975 at 6:15 AM on November 18, 2007

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