Save Money on Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

Save Money
Date Published
Corrine Doyle

Do you want to lower the postage and production costs of your next direct mail campaign? With some upfront planning you can significantly reduce these expenses.


Are you regularly cleaning up the names on your database? Mailing records with old mailing addresses can be costly. Not only are you are spending additional production and postage costs, but worse your message is not being delivered.

  • NCOA Processing: To comply with USPS regulations, you are required to perform the National Change of Address every 95 days. This not only enhances the deliverability of your mail, but also allows you to take advantage of the best postal rates. If you are having this service done each mailing at your mail house, ask for the updated records. You have paid for the service; why not update your database? Then once you have updated your database, if you intend to mail those records again within the 95-day validation period they are now incompliance with the USPS requirement. You now won’t need to pay for the service at your mail house again to mail within that 95-day window. You have just saved yourself valuable data processing, production, and postage costs with this one step.
  • Alternative services for NCOA: ACS Service, Ancillary Service Endorsements (Return Service Requested, Address Service Requested, and Change Service Requested). Ancillary Services allow the mail owner to obtain the addressee’s new address from the USPS after the mail has been processed. If you have opted for the Change Service Requested service, the USPS will provide you with not only the new addresses, but also the reason for any addressee mail that is flagged as undeliverable. These services also provide the USPS with information to update its systems. The downside to these services is you are not able to impact your current appeal production and postage savings prior to mailing. You will have spent unnecessary money producing and mailing records that will not be delivered.
  • DECEASED Processing: This is not a requirement from the USPS, but it is recommended that you perform this processing on your database once per year. You may even want to consider testing a mailing to donors that are flagged deceased. Some organizations have success in mailing to these “past” donors where a family member will continue to make donations in honor of the deceased member.


Be sure to take advantage of this service at your mail house. You want to have the mail house check your mail file to see if there is a NET cost savings to drop ship during the postal presort stage. The USPS offers a discount to mailers who arrange to have their Standard (Bulk) Mail delivered to the closest postal processing facility to the final destination. This is especially beneficial when mailing a high volume in a concentrated area. If the postage savings is higher than the cost of freight to ship your mail, you just found some saved dollars.


Can you make those five small mail lots into one large lot? If not, how about two or three? Consider all production options to combine as many segments into one mail lot as your mail plan and communications allow. Every little bit will help.

  • PRODUCTION Savings: Each mail lot you create requires an initial set-up process with associated fees. Every mail lot you can eliminate will effectively reduce the number of set-up fees you pay, and amortize the required set-up fee over a greater number of records, bringing down the cost per piece.
  • POSTAGE Savings: Each mail lot is sorted individually for postal presorting. The more lots you have, the less each lot will qualify for maximum postal savings. If you condense the number of mail lots, this increases the concentration of postal sortation, resulting in more postage savings.
About the Author:
Corrine Doyle
Director of Production Services, Agency Services

Years in the industry


Role at the Company

My main responsibility is to manage the day-to-day activities the Production Services Team, providing them with my support to allow them to execute client programs. Areas I bring insight to the team include creative, print, data processing, laser personalization, lettershop, and mailing for direct response agency clients nationwide, including based public television and public radio stations across the United States.

What excites you about your work at AFG?

What I enjoy about working in the non-profit arena is the enthusiasm and dedication of our clients. My mission is to assist them in achieving their goals, and to allow our clients to stay focused on their primary responsibility, spreading awareness for their cause.

If you weren’t at AFG, what would you be doing?

If I had not pursued a career in the direct mail/production world, I would have enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. Talk about a very different career path.

What are your hobbies/interests outside AFG?

If I can get anywhere near the ocean I am a happy person. Because of that love for the ocean, I am a very avid sailor. I race on a friend’s boat, and also own one with my husband for recreation. Vacation on a boat is where its at for me. When we don’t have the opportunity to be out on the boat we try to hit up the beach. Winters are a little tough in New England for boating, so we pass the time skiing.

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Vacationing in Maine with my Grandparents during summer break. They would rent a house for the entire summer on a lake.

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