Postal Options for Global Membership Marketing

To a large extent, membership marketing still relies on direct mail to acquire new members and renew them. But one of the biggest challenges in global membership marketing is the postal expense surrounding these activities.

You can use the USPS Postage Price Calculator to calculate just how much it will cost you to mail just about any piece to any country in the world. For example, if you drop a one ounce letter into the international mail stream, you will pay $0.94 per letter. Considering mailing up to three ounces at non-profit rates in the US is $0.175, it is easy to see how the cost to service a member outside the US can be expensive.

The post office makes some other less costly international mailing options available for larger scale mailings. These are priced by piece and pound and carry additional requirements. These mailing options include:
  1. International Priority Airmail (IPA). This equivalent to First Class Mail in the US and claims a 3-7 business day arrival to the delivery country. Each IPA mailing must weigh a minimum of 11 pounds.
  2. International Surface Air-Lift (ISAL). This is equivalent to Standard Mail service and claims a 7-14 business day delivery. Each ISAL mailing must weigh a minimum of 50 pounds.
  3. Global Bulk Economy (GBE): This method uses surface transportation. Mail is presented to the International Bulk Mail Center and then dispatched by the USPS® via surface transportation. Delivery times average 21 to 35 days after the mail arrives at the USPS gateway. There is a minimum volume requirement of 100 pounds per mailing.

But probably the most cost effective and timely method for most organizations trying to serve global members is to use one of the mailing methods above through an international mail consolidator available under the USPS Postal Qualified Wholesaler program. These companies receive additional postal discounts from the USPS and will also:

  • Pickup from local domestic mail-shop
  • Sort and separate mail by country
  • Apply bar coded postal permit
  • Bag separated mail
  • Deliver mail to the airport for transit

My production manager tells me that in a recent mailing he did to the Pacific Rim of 26,000 pieces of mail, the postage savings of using an international mail consolidator ran around $8000 in comparison to mailing independently. Here is the link to a list of companies serving as a Postal Qualified Wholesaler.

How is your organization acquiring and serving global members?

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