Are you serious about doing your part to reduce your organization’s environmental footprint? How about saving money?
We’re not talking about unscrewing lightbulbs here, but making sure you’ve taken all the steps you can to lower the environmental impact of your mailed communications. Besides the environmental benefits, most of the strategies suggested below will lower your expenses, improve your mail’s effectiveness, or both.
- Actively manage movers–Most corporate databases contain a fair amount of data records with addresses that will never get any mail. Professional mailers run their customer’s mailing files through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database before mailing, enabling the mail to reach recipients at their new addresses. Updating the original source data, however, is the client’s responsibility. If they don’t do it, records drop off the NCOA list after 48 months. All further mail pieces will be undelivered, mis-delivered to an old address, or destroyed. Failing to update addresses on corporate databases contributes to unnecessary paper, printing, processing, and transportation and their accompanying environmental impacts.
- Purge vacant addresses and deceased individuals–Useful postal processing tools and databases can prevent mail from being produced if there is no one at the address to read it. Delivery Point Validation (DPV) flags homes, apartments, or offices unoccupied for over 90 days. Mailers can compare lists to databases of deceased or incarcerated individuals to remove even more names guaranteed to be unresponsive to campaigns, which improves the ROI.
- Eliminate an entire mailing–Does your organization mail annual privacy notices, terms of service, or other regulatory documents to customers? The most recent changes at the US Postal Service increased the weight limit for First Class Commercial Presorted mail to 3.5 ounces. Many organizations can now add those regulatory notices to documents they are already sending, without increased postage. Inserting extra pages into envelopes containing bills or statements lowers envelope usage, saves electricity normally used to run equipment for special mail runs, and saves fuel to transport separate regulatory material to recipients.
- Stop prospecting your own customers–Organizations typically purchase mailing lists for customer acquisition based on criteria such as geography, income level, or age. Naturally those lists contain customers or donors already engaged with the mailer. Sending acquisition offers to existing customers not only wastes natural resources, it can negatively affect valuable customer relationships already in place. Take the extra step to remove existing customers from purchased mailing lists before mailing the campaign material. Mailing professionals call this operation “Merge/Purge”.
- Change the format–Altering the style, layout, or content can reduce page counts and paper consumption. Some organizations may find it desirable to mail shortened content, providing the full details online. Companies can reduce a bill with several pages of printed transactions, such as toll booth activity or phone calls, to a single summary page. We’ve known organizations that cut their paper usage in half simply by adjusting margins, fonts, or removing unnecessary content. Over the course of a year, the environmental and cost savings in paper and production can be significant.
These suggestions are just a few ways mailers can reduce their environmental footprint. We have many other ideas that may work for you. The document experts at EartCcolor can help you make minor adjustments to your mailed communications that help the environment and save you money. Get in touch for some personal advice.