CMS People - CASS Certification Information and Order Form

For most churches, bulk mailing can be a nightmare! Trying to jump through the “Postal” hoops to get the cheapest rate has been the cause of more than one headache.

But knowing a few of the Bulk Mail Basics and using your CMS for Windows system, you can save your church some money, and yourself a migraine!

Okay, basic number one, what the heck is Bulk Mail, anyway?! Bulk Mail (also called “Presorted”) refers to preparing a bunch of mail, in a certain way, and getting cheaper postal rates.

Why would you get cheaper postal rates? Because you’re doing the work for the Post Office! The more work you do for the post office, the cheaper your postage!

What do you need to do to bulk mail? There are a few things you need to do well in advance of your first bulk mail. You need to:

  • Get a mailing permit and pay the annual mailing fee
  • Pay for postage using pre-canceled stamps, postage meter, or permit imprint (you must submit a form and pay a one-time fee to use the permit imprint)
  • Determine the size, shape, and weight of the item you’re going to mail, sizes for letters are:
  • Must be rectangular.
  • At least 3½ inches high by 5 inches long by .007 inch thick
  • No more than 6⅛ inches high by 11½ long by 1/4 inch thick
  • Ensure that your addresses are accurate… i.e. get CASS CERTIFIED
  • Sort/Print your labels or mailers in zip code order
  • Take your mail to the post office where you hold your mailing permit

How many pieces do you have to mail to qualify for bulk mailing?

  • 500 Pieces for First Class Mail
  • 200 Pieces for Standard Mail (or 50 pounds of mail)

 

What’s the difference between First Class and Standard Class mail?

First Class Mail

  • Can be anything mail-able, bills, statements, personal correspondence.
  • Will be delivered faster.
  • Free forward and return
  • Presorted discounts are offered

Standard Class Mail

  • Advertisements, circulars, newsletters. Must weigh less than 16 ounces.
  • Delivery is not very speedy!!
  • No free forward and return
  • Presorted discounts are offered

So, exactly how much money can you save? Again, depending on how much work you (or your volunteers!) are willing to do, you can plan on saving some money!

 

Let’s start with the rates. In Standard Class mail, there are Regular rates and Non-Profit rates. Regular rates are for every type of business.

 

Non-Profit, ohhh, sounds like a church, right?

 

Well, yes and no.

 

You have to apply for and receive authorization from the post office before you can take advantage of these super cheap postal rates. And just because you’re authorized as Non-Profit, it doesn’t mean that everything you mail qualifies for the Non-Profit rates. Double check with your local post office before you design and print your mail piece.

 

What do you need to receive authorization to mail as a Non-Profit organization?

· Get a copy and fill out Form 3624, Application To Mail At Non-Profit Standard Mail Rates. You can get this form on line at www.usps.com or at your local post office.

· You must submit some required documentation with your application to support your claim for non-profit rates (formative papers, IRS letter of exemption from payment of federal income tax, etc.). You can also provide additional supporting documentation (bulletins, minutes of meetings, brochures, etc.)

· Submit the completed form 3624 and supporting doc to your postmaster or at the business mail entry unit (where you drop off your bulk mail).

It usually takes about two weeks for your application to be approved.

Let’s talk about the Sort Levels, Presorted Basic and an Automated. What’s the difference? Basically, it’s the bar code or lack thereof.

If you have a bar code on your label it means that the post office can run that mail through it’s machines and doesn’t need a human being to touch it, so it’s cheaper for them, and you can use the Automated rate which is cheaper for you.

If you don’t have a barcode on your label then lowly humans must touch the mail and we’re more expensive, and you’ll have to use the Presorted rate.

But STOP! You can’t just print a bar code on your label and expect the post office to take it, this is the post office after all! You need an eligibility form! Are you eligible to use a bar code on your labels? Only if you are CASS Certified.

Now, what about this CASS CERTIFICATION business? CASS (Code Accuracy Support System) is just a process where you send your addresses from CMS to another company, Cyberex Marketing Inc., that will make sure all of your addresses meet all the requirements of the post office.

They’ll change all of the STREET’s to ST, and all of the AVENUE’s to AV, they’ll put in all of the Zip 4 codes, all of the delivery points, all of the carrier routes, plus they give you all of the forms you’ll need to tell the post office you’ve done this process! Whew!

With all of that done, you can now print your labels with bar codes and take advantage of the “Automated” postal rates, which are REALLY cheap!

But, if you’re not CASS Certified, DO NOT PRINT THE BAR CODE ON YOUR LABELS!!! The post office will throw the whole run back at you and make you re-do your mailing!

Last, but not least, you need to decide if you qualify for the Enhanced Carrier Route rates. Which are mailings of 200 pieces or more, addressed, sorted, and marked (meeting PO requirements). The mailing would need to have groups of 10 or more to one carrier route, prepared in line-of-travel or walk-sequence order (basically, which route does the postman take when he walks up and down the street!). The pieces of mail that don’t meet those qualifications, i.e. 9 or fewer to a carrier route, can be mailed First Class.

If you use Automated Enhanced Carrier Route you will need to go through the CASS Certification process four times per year. If you do not use the Enhanced Carrier Route rates but you still want to use the Automated rates, you only need to get CASS Certified every six months.

Confused yet?

Your best source of information is going to be your local post office and/or business mail entry unit. You can also check out www.usps.com. Look for Business Mail 101, Smart Choices for Beginning Mailers, this will answer your questions and help you in this process.

Now, none of this stuff makes any sense, until you look at the money you can save.

The chart below reflects a 1000 piece mailing of a one ounce piece (one envelope with one piece of paper in the envelope and a label). Check out http://dbcalc.usps.gov/ for personalized rates for your church.

 

What is it??

Class

Rate

Sort Level

Each

Plain ole regular mail

First Class

Non-Automatic

Single-Piece

39¢

Bulk First Class

First Class

Non-Automatic

Presorted

37.1¢

Plain ole regular Bulk Mail

Standard Class

Regular

Presorted Basic

28.2¢

Bulk sorted by Carrier Route

Standard Class

Regular Enhanced Carrier Route

Presorted Basic

20.4¢

Bulk Mail with a Barcode—Needs CASS Cert

Standard Class

Regular

Automation

23.1¢

Bulk Mail with a Barcode sorted by Carrier Route—Needs CASS Cert

Standard Class

Regular Enhanced Carrier Route

Automation

18.0¢

NP Bulk Mail—Need Authorization

Standard Class

Nonprofit

Presorted Basic

17.0¢

NP Bulk Mail sorted by Carrier Route —Need Authorization

Standard Class

Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route

Presorted Basic

14.0¢

NP Bulk Mail with a Barcode—Needs Authorization & CASS Cert

Standard Class

Nonprofit

Automation

14.8¢

NP Bulk Mail with a Barcode sorted by Carrier Route—Needs Authorization & CASS Cert

Standard Class

Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route

Automation

11.7¢

Now that you know how much money you can save, how does this work?

 
 
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