Church Marketing Tips - Non Profit Postage for Churches
Getting Approved to Mail at Non-Profit Rates
The US Postal Service has a special postage rate for churches, which allows you to pay just 8.9 cents per piece. Needless to say, for large mailings the savings can add up to big money.
It’s done through a nonprofit mailing permit.
You may be wondering: Doesn’t that cost money? Yes, it does: $220 just to apply, and then another $220 for the yearly permit. That scares a lot of organizations away.
But what most folks don’t know is that a church can work through another organization that already has the permit—and skip the fees. These are called cooperative mailings, and they’re specifically allowed in the USPS guidelines (See Publication 417, Section 5.1-2).
Both of the organizations must be authorized to send mail at the special rate—but only one needs to have the permit. That means your church could soon be sending mail to members, guests, and others at the reduced rate—with no extra expense.
Of course, you must jump through some hoops to be recognized as eligible. You also do not necessarily need to be registered as a 501(c)(3). To get started, you’ll need to fill out Form 3624 to show that you’re a legitimate nonprofit.
But don’t worry—we’ll guide you through it!
We’ll take it page by page:
Page 1. This is where you provide basic information on your organization. Fill out each field carefully and completely.
If you will be using a P.O. Box, note that in the Alternate Mailing Address field
In #9, check box (01) Religious
In #10, check No
Don’t forget to sign and date it
Don’t write in Part 2 (below the bold line—that’s for the post office)
Page 2. General Information – feel free to move on to Page 3
Page 3. This is where you specify what documentation you’re providing to prove your status as a legitimate nonprofit. You have a choice of documents to use. But remember, the organization names on all documents must match exactly, and be the same as your organization’s legal name. The Postal Service focuses on three areas:
Nonprofit Status. To prove your nonprofit bona fides, provide one of the following:
IRS letter of exemption
A financial statement from an independent auditor showing nonprofit status
Place of worship
Organization. If your organization is a 501(c)(3) you can provide a copy of the incorporation paperwork. If the organization is not in your name, you’ll need that paperwork PLUS a letter on the parent organization’s letterhead stating that you full directly under its 501(c)(3) status. If you don’t have a 501(c)(3), bring a copy of the church’s constitution, bylaws, other organizational documents, or a profit and loss statement.
Operation. You can use a church bulletin PLUS one other item, such as church materials, to show that you’re a functioning house of worship.
Once you have all your necessary paperwork, call your local post office, and ask which branch handles the bulk mail in your area. Call that office and ask specifically if they use PostalOne! This is an electronic processing system designed for business mailings. (You must work through a branch that uses PostalOne! If the first branch you call doesn’t, find one that does.) Gather all your paperwork and walk it into the post office. (You cannot mail these documents. You must deliver them in person.) Meet with the bulk mail supervisor. Explain to him that you are applying for “Authorization to Mail as a Non Profit Organization”, which is a free service. You are not here to apply for a permit which is a paid service. If this confuses the bulk mail supervisor refer him to the second paragraph under “Making it Easy” for an explanation on how you will be handling your nonprofit mailings. If possible, watch him or her physically enter your information into PostalOne!
The system should then generate a temporary authorization number. Ask for that number. This ensures that the process was completed properly.
The postal worker should sign and date page 3 of your Form 362.
The post office must send your paperwork to the main office in New York. Ask the worker to please send it that same day. You should receive an email response within about two weeks. That’s it!
Making It Easy
You’ve done the hard part. Once you’ve been approved, we can take care of the rest for you.
We can ship to any post office and send your mail at nonprofit rates. This is called ghost permitting, also known as “request to mail at a post office other than your own.” We’ll get the mail to the right post office, eliminating any work on your part.
We’ll also complete Form 3623 and type a letter on your church letterhead requesting Truth Advertising to mail for you. Then we’ll submit both to the post office when we go in to clear your mail.
This enables us to use our mailing center in Dallas, Texas, under our nonprofit permit. We’ll then make an appointment at your local SCF Post Office and truck the mail to that PO for you. This process saves your church time and very rarely results in any extra trucking charges.
Ready to get started? Call 1-888-359-1370 and speak to a Church Marketing Consultant.
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