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How to Qualify for Nonprofit Mail Rates

Written by Dana Fowler Internal Marketing Coordinator

What is Nonprofit Mail?

Nonprofit organizations want lower-cost postage, but not all will qualify. Organizations that wish to mail their USPS Marketing Mail at a lower rate must apply for and receive USPS authorization first. Then, they must ensure their mail piece complies with USPS requirements for mail at the lowered rate. 

Who qualifies for nonprofit mail prices?

When applying for Nonprofit USPS Marketing Mail prices your organization must meet certain criteria. The most obvious is your organization must be organized as a not for profit - you do not have to be a 501 (ca) (3), but it certainly helps. 

Here are the 8 categories of organizations which the USPS deems eligible for nonprofit mail:

  • Religious
  • Educational
  • Scientific
  • Philanthropic (Charitable)
  • Agricultural
  • Labor
  • Veterans
  • Fraternal

Some political committees and voter registration officials may also qualify for nonprofit status but under very specific cases - most government organizations are not eligible for the lower rate. Even if an organization is a not for profit organization, it will not necessarily qualify for nonprofit prices, see all of the typical ineligible organizations here.


How do you apply for eligibility?

If you’re still unsure about whether or not you qualify, or you need help with the application process, contact us. Our postal experts can help you determine your status and even help you with the application process. 


What mail qualifies for nonprofit mail prices?

After you’ve acquired USPS nonprofit status, you’ll have to create a mail piece that meets the strict USPS standards. (It is very difficult to receive an exemption at the time of mailing so make sure you’re in the clear before you print.)

  • It must be USPS Marketing Mail (Standard). 
  • It must include your organization’s name and return address on the outer envelope and on the inside piece.
  • The return address on the mailpiece must be the same address as the USPS has on file. 
  • The mailing must have at least 200 mailpieces or 50 pounds of bulk items.
  • The mailing must be for the benefit of the nonprofit only. 


What else should you know about nonprofit mail?

Know what type of postage you want to use to convey your message 

Should you use a stamp, meter, or indicia? The type of postage you decide upon is just the method of payment being used. The USPS postage rate remains the same regardless of your payment method, but how you apply the postage may alter the price slightly. When deciding upon which method you want to use, you must also take into account the look and feel you want to convey. 

  • Stamps often give the look and feel of the piece being more personal so they are often used when sending out appeals.
  • Metered mail is typically used when sending informative mail because it looks more “official”.
  • Indicias are embedded in the original artwork for print and require a permit - you can use your own permit or ours.

We will be sure to advise you on your best price — whichever payment method you choose. Contact us today to ask about the best postage option for you. 

Keep your mailing list up to date

You can save on postage by making sure your mailing list is current. When we process your mail, we will clean your data with NCOALink®. You can import the cleaned data to your own database to clean up your own files. We know how many of you are afraid to import new data! Many marketers ask us to run an NCOALink® check and then let it expire because they are unsure of what to do with it. Without routinely performing data audits, address issues can remain unresolved and returned mail can easily build up. If you are stuck (or just a little scared) to update your data, contact us. We’re experts at handling data and can help you sleep better at night.

Check your mail piece design

The USPS is interested in improved delivery service, machine compatibility, and postage discounts.  Regardless of how pretty or clever your letter is, if it’s not USPS compliant, it will not mail at the rate you expect. This can cause a lot of heartache! The goal is to achieve automation rates, by conforming to specs and employing an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb). Always begin by designing your mail piece with that goal in mind. Proper design with great creative to engage your audience will save you heartache, time, and energy and help you achieve your marketing goals.

Give your mailpiece a boost with additional channels

Many campaigns benefit from using a variety of touchpoints. In fact, 80% of sales are made between the 8th and 12th contact. Don’t be afraid to add a couple of channels to your campaign. Our new digital+post technology changes the exposure in your campaign from a one-time mailing to include Informed Delivery email, online display ads and retargeting ad exposure on Facebook and Instagram for up to sixty days. You can even easily add inbound call tracking if you like. It’s an incremental improvement in your marketing power and helps you improve the customer experience while gaining much more relevant data to inform you on your buyer’s behaviors and insights into your customer journeys.

Mail can be hard, and we are really good at it! Give us a call to consult one of our own mail pros!

The CLE Nonprofit Summit is Tomorrow! 

Join us for the CLE Nonprofit Summit, hosted by Midwest Direct! Join other CLE NonProfit Professionals as we introduce proven marketing strategies used by nonprofit organizations that find more donors, use multiple channels to bring in donations and find a way to get that done with a reasonable budget and effort. Lunch will be provided. 


  • How to Clone Your Best Donors With Marketing Attribution Tactics With Gary Seitz, VP Data and Analytics
  • Omni-channel Fundraising Campaigns Made Easy With Erica Switzer, Digital Sales Manager
  • Real-life Case Studies and Your Questions

Where: Midwest Direct, 2222 W. 110th Street, Cleveland, OH 44102

When: Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 from 11 am to 2 pm

Reserve your seat today and receive free mail tracking and a $50.00 coupon to be applied to data or digital marketing services with midwest direct.

Register Now! 

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