Winning Campaigns Staff Writer
Most campaigns find it more cost efficient and easier on the candidate and staff to use a mail house to handle campaign mailings. For those who prefer the do-it-myself approach, here are some basic rules to follow.
Mail that is held because it does not meet the Postal requirements amounts to time, money and votes lost.
The USPS defines Standard Mail as a class of mail that weighs less than 16 ounces. It comprises the subclasses of Regular Standard Mail, Nonprofit Standard Mail, Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Standard Mail. These subclasses include circulars, printed matter, pamphlets, catalogs, newsletters, direct mail, and merchandise. Standard Mail may be sent at presorted rates and at automated rates. Individuals without certified software & hardware will be required to mail at presort standard rates!
There are important requirements to consider when determining whether your mail can qualify for regular presort standard rates. Some of these are:
* All pieces must be in the same processing category (all letters, all flats, all postcards etc.).
* Each mailing must contain at least 200 addressed pieces or 50 pounds of addressed pieces.
* All pieces must qualify as standard mail.
* The correct ZIP+4 Code must be on each piece.
* A permit or license to pay postage via pre-canceled stamps, permit imprints or meters must be obtained.
* An annual standard mailing fee must be paid.
* Mail must be sent from the Post Office where the permit or license was obtained and the fee paid.
* Mail must be sorted, packaged, affixed with stickers and inserted into USPS trays.
Here are a few of our insider tips to help save your campaign time and money on political payloads:
1. Send your mail at presort standard rates, first class is much too expensive! The exception is your absentee voter list, which should be mailed first class for reasons we'll discuss later in this chapter. When you mail presort standard the time you spend preparing your list and your mailing materials can save nearly 50% per item over regular first class mail.
2. To avoid paying extra postage (presort standard non-automated):
a. Postcard - minimum size 3 ½” X 5”
maximum size 4 ¼ X 6
b. Letter - minimum size 4 ¼ X 6
maximum size 6 1/8” X 11 ½"
maximum thickness ¼ "
weight – up to 3.3 ounces
c. Flat – minimum size 6 1/8 X 11 ½
- maximum size 12 X 15
- weight – up to 3.3 ounces
3. We recommend the use of USPS documents. These documents are available at the local Business Mail Entry Units or on the USPS website (www.usps.com). For packaging and traying sequence use document number (M610.3). For placement of tabs and wafer seals use document number (811).
4. 5-Digit Zip Code
Packaging not required if sufficient quantity to fill a 5-digit tray. Pieces must be packaged if 10 or more pieces to same 5-digit Zip Code; fewer than 10 pieces in a package not permitted.
Affix the red label D on lower left hand corner of top piece of package.
5. 3-Digit Zip Code
Pieces must be packaged if 10 or more pieces to the same 3-digit Zip Code prefix; fewer than 10 pieces in a package not permitted.
Affix the green label 3 on lower left hand corner of top piece of package.
Pieces must be packaged if 10 or more pieces in the same ADC (see L004); fewer than 10 pieces in a package not permitted.
Affix the pink label A on lower left hand corner of top piece of package.
7. Mixed ADC
Any remaining pieces must be packaged in mixed ADC packages.
Affix the tan label MXD on lower left hand corner of top piece of package.
8. Maintain an accurate list of the number of pieces in each batch, package, or bundle, and note the type of packaging. Have a copy of the list with you when you drop off the mail (see 3602-EZ).
9. Avoid peak mailing periods. At the Business Mail Entry Units that means between 4 and 8 p.m. The best time to take your mail pieces to the post office is early in the morning. Packaging your mailing can be tricky, so be sure to follow our guidelines and ask your local post office or business mail entry unit experts for more specific instructions and new or revised regulations.
Jim Burrows, Winning Campaigns Staff Writer
Please keep in mind that these tips are to be used as only a guideline.
Standard mail rates and mailing criteria rules change regularly
and in order to be safe, check with your