Is using Volunteers really saving you money?

by Gino

Many companies, especially non-profit organizations, utilize volunteers and interns to perform many tasks around the office, including the processing of their direct mail campaigns. They are under the assumption that since the labor is free that they are saving money, but is this true?

In rare cases, maybe, but many times they are losing money and wasting valuable manpower.

If the volunteers and or whomever is directing the direct mail production are fully aware of all the postal rules, they have the software and equipment to process efficiently and the people involved are capable of fast paced production speeds then yes, they could save some costs by working their mailing in-house.

What we have found is that many of these companies do not have the equipment and are utilizing their “free” labor to do most of the many tasks by hand, ie. folding, stuffing, sealing, applying labels, etc. This takes a great deal of time and can delay a mailing project for days.

By not having the most up to date software their address list cannot be C.A.S.S. Certified & Move Updated as required by the Post Office to receive discounted automation postage rates. Therefore the mailing must go out at higher standard rates. Small oversights from the lack of experience such as paper weight, being sure that any reply mail is automation compatible, wafer seal  and address placement, positioning of staples, etc… can all cause the total postage amount to be much higher.

Having a mailing professional process your direct mail project helps to ensure that the postage costs are as low as possible, time frames are met due to high speed machine production and all the postal rules are met so as not to cause delays and or extra costs. Deliverability is optimized and since the address list is “cleaned” there is less waste due to being undeliverable which the postal worker is authorized to throw away on a standard rate mailings. Each wasted mail piece is a loss in printing, postage and labor and since the customer is not notified of the undeliverable addresses subsequent mailings of the same addresses could have the same issues plus any new changes that have gone undetected.

One key factor to remember when deciding on whether to use a mail house or volunteers on your next mailing campaign is that many times a mailing professional can save their customers so much money in postage that the difference can actually pay for the mail house’s labor charges. In other words, The labor costs for a mail house could end up being the same as using volunteers, FREE! but with less headaches, faster turnaround times and more efficiency and deliverability.

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