By Vince Williams
July 12, 2011
Mail is a powerful tool for reaching people in a church’s local community. The challenge is that costs and complicated postal regulations can make mailing a big challenge for churches inexperienced in the inner workings of the postal system.
Recently, the US Postal Service has introduced a new program to simplify the maze of paperwork and procedures required for mailing, called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). While it is not a perfect fit for all outreach efforts, it is a great way to save money and time for certain church mailings. Here’s a look at this new program.
What EDDM is
Every Door Direct Mail is a new service from the US Postal Service that allows a local organization to mail flat-sized mail pieces to every home in a neighborhood for 14.2¢ per mailer.
One advantage to EDDM is that a mailing permit is not required. A mailing permit costs hundreds of dollars per year, and adds a layer of complexity to the standard mailing process. Because no postal permit is required, EDDM mail can be taken into your local post office and given right to a postal worker at the front counter.
The post office has supplied a pretty effortless online system for determining the number of addresses in a given area and instructions on the forms you need for the mailing.
This new program can save a local organization substantial time and money on their mail pieces. However, it also has restrictions that make it limited in its value, especially to churches, primarily because it does not offer any additional benefits for being a non-profit.
What EDDM is not
EDDM is not an open ended way to reach your neighbors at the lowest price. First, EDDM has multiple restrictions: your mailer has to be a “flat” size (minimum 11-1/2 inches long and 6-1/8 inches wide); you can’t mail more than 5,000 pieces in a given day; mailers have to be bundled in groups of fifty; and the mail piece must go to every home in each selected carrier route.
In other words, if you want to mail an 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ postcard, or an 11″ x 17″ trifold mailer, you can’t use EDDM. Nor can you use this new service if you want to mail more than 5,000 time-sensitive pieces, or mail to select addresses in an area.
Furthermore, the post office offers better discounts to non-profit organizations wanting to saturate their area for a large outreach event or evangelism campaign, with postage as low as half the cost of EDDM. These discounts are not as simple or manageable by a local church, but are certainly more cost-effective.
When EDDM is right
EDDM is perfect for saturating smaller areas of a community where the ease of paperwork and lack of permit will be a savings over the lower rate of postage you get using the traditional non-profit discounts. For example, if you mail 1,000 jumbo postcards to a neighborhood for your summer VBS program your cost using EDDM would be $450; versus traditional direct mail at around $550. However, once you get into a larger campaign volume, like 10,000 pieces, you would spend around $300 more to handle the mailing yourself than to have someone like SermonView handle it for you.
In the end, even with the new program church mailing can be confusing for churches. And many smaller print shops and mail houses are not familiar with the unique requirements for non-profit mailings. For years now, SermonView has worked exclusively with local churches. We understand how to save money on mailings from just 500 on up to 100,000 pieces.
Don’t be confused by the various options. Just know that the post office is working to make direct mail even more effective for you, and SermonView will continue to watch the maze of ever changing policies to get you the best deals on your mailing campaigns.
Vince Williams is Vice President for Marketing at SermonView. He ran his first direct mail campaign 17 years ago, and enjoyed it so much that he has been involved in sales and marketing work ever since. For the last 5 years Vince has dedicated himself to helping churches communicate better and market themselves more effectively. Vince lives with his wife in Vancouver, Wash