Discounted  Mailings for Nonprofits: How to Apply and How to Comply

Did you know that you can likely get a discount on mailings for your nonprofit?  The USPS has special pricing for nonprofit mailings. This means you can cut down costs by 54%-80% on mailing your annual appeal letter, event invitations, and more. However, nonprofits interested in creating an account with the USPS and taking advantage of nonprofit pricing must apply and adhere to guidelines set forth by USPS. 

Eligible Nonprofits

Eight categories of nonprofits are eligible for nonprofit pricing on mailings: 

USPS Truck

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

To determine eligibility, the USPS examines the following documentation: 

  • The organization’s primary purpose
  • The organization’s nonprofit status

Applying for Authorization

A nonprofit must apply for authorization at all mailing offices from which it plans to send bulk mailings. The application is called the “Application to Mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail Rates” and required documentation includes your nonprofit’s 510(c)3 letter and proof of its purpose, for example, your by-laws. 

Requirements for Mail Sent at Nonprofit Prices

Mail sent at nonprofit prices looks just like regular USPS Marketing Mail. The only difference is the required marking for nonprofit mail. NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, NONPROFIT ORG, or NONPROFIT must appear:

Pile of mail

  • In the imprint indicia – this is for organizations that have an “advance deposit account” who send mostly identical mail pieces, 
  • On a nonprofit precanceled stamp, OR
  • As part of the meter impression, AND
  • Printed on the mailpiece, adjacent to the postage area.

(The option your nonprofit chooses depends on how you choose to pay for your bulk mailings). In addition, the nonprofit’s name and address must be clearly visible, either on the envelope or prominently placed in the contents. And, if a return address is included on the mailpiece, then the name and address must be that of the authorized organization.

There are some requirements for what type of content your mailing can include. The most notable are: 

  • No handwritten content, except in specific instances. 
  • Stickers, labels, and perforated handouts must not exceed .007 inches in thickness. 
  • You cannot send mailings selling a product for a price. 

Bulk Mailings

Nonprofit mail is sorted and prepared the same way as regular USPS Marketing Mail. However, there is a special permit required for bulk mailings, at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of identical mail. Many organizations use a mailing service that already has a permit and don’t have to apply for their own. However, if you’re processing your bulk mail in-house, your nonprofit will have to apply for a permit. 

How much will it cost?

You can calculate an estimated price of your mailings using the USPS calculator, found here

Not sure what to mail? We cover annual appeal letters for nonprofits here