By November 23, 2008, the USPS will require all presorted Standard mail (including Non-Profit) to have addresses updated and verified against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database within 95 days of the mail date. If the update has not been done, you lose your money-saving discounts and are charged the non-automated, single-piece rates. This can mean hundreds if not thousands of dollars in added costs for mailers that fail to comply.
The NCOA system was put into place in 1986 in order to help the USPS reduce UAA (Undeliverable as Addressed) mail and also to help save mailers money that would otherwise be wasted on materials and postage for mail that could not be properly delivered. Over 40 million Americans change their address annually and the current NCOA database contains over 160,000 records of people who have moved over the past 48 months.
For someone to get into the database, at work or at home, they simply need to complete a USPS Change of Address card or go to the USPS Change Of Address web page. This creates a new record in the NCOA master database and updates the system.
A number of companies are providing services to NCOA mailing lists including my firm. If you are doing large quantities of mail, this is something that you should be sure to check on soon.