How to get ready for your next big mail campaign

Posted July 24, 2019 by Timi Paccioretti

get ready for mail campaign

With the fall and winter appeal season just around the corner, it’s a great time to think about how to get ready for your next big mail campaign.

In this article, we share how using Little Green Light’s Address Verification feature can simplify this task, in addition to offering some mailing-related best practice suggestions.

Little Green Light’s Address Verification feature

One of my very favorite mailing-related tools in Little Green Light is our Address Verification feature. This free feature makes easy work of cleaning your addresses, normalizing and standardizing your address data according to US postal standards. What does that mean for you? No more returned mail with “no such address” stamped on it, which can save your nonprofit money!

Once you enable this feature, LGL will go to work standardizing your verifiable addresses and correcting state abbreviations, even putting those pesky missing leading zeros back into your zip codes. It will also auto-populate the correct zip code+4 when the street, city, and state fields are present.

When this feature is enabled, it is also a good idea to turn on the Address Deduplication option, which cleans up duplicate addresses within the same constituent record. 

 

Preparing your mailing to send to a mailhouse

Did you know that Little Green Light offers a built-in report that makes it easy to send your mailing list to an outside printer?

Because most mailhouses prefer that there not be carriage returns in the data they receive, be sure you take advantage of these two options when creating your report:

  • Customize your address field and check the “Split address 1 2 3” box
  • Customize your addressee field to split it into addressee 1 and addressee 2 by checking the “Split multiple lines into two columns?” box

 

NCOA service through Little Green Light

Little Green Light offers a fee-based NCOA (National Change of Address) service, which runs your constituents through a centralized database. The database is maintained through the process of completing “change of address” cards and filing them with the US Postal Service. 

Although this is an option to consider using, it’s good to be aware of a few things. One is that address changes made more than 48 months ago will be dropped from the database. So if you’ve never run your database through this process before, you’re going to catch only the last two years of address changes. Another is that records with partial addresses will not be processed through the service. Lastly, if you’re using a mailhouse to send out your mailing, they are required to run your list through NCOA on your behalf, so you might be just duplicating the cost.

 

What’s the difference between Little Green Light’s Address Verification feature and NCOA service?

Whereas our Address Verification system ensures the address info you have in a record is an actual and true address, the NCOA process can be used to confirm that the constituent actually resides at that address. Both services are beneficial, but for a different reason.

 

Conclusion

Before you send out any mail campaign, we strongly recommend that you take some steps to ensure the overall health of your donor database. By having a regular data maintenance plan in place, your next big mail campaign is sure to go off without a hitch!

 

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