Barcoding Your Mail-Outs - Are You Prepared?
17 April 2001 at 1:04 pm
If you are a fundraiser reliant on mail-outs to keep your organisation going and to attract donations, are you prepared for changes to Australia Post’s PreSort service?
For those who are already trying it, the financial benefits appear to be paying off.
For those who may not be aware, the Australia Post PreSort Service provides discounts for bulk mail lodgements. The principle of this system is simple- mail already sorted (as outlined in the PreSort guide), coupled with the use of barcodes, enables Australia Post to process the mail quicker and more efficiently, hence the discounts available.
To qualify for PreSort discounts, organisations need to lodge at least 300 letters at a time, and barcode a minimum percentage of their lodgement. Currently this percentage is set at 80%, but will increase to 90% in July this year. By July 2002, 100% of letters will need barcodes to be eligible for PreSort discounts.
A lodgement of 300 letters at standard rates (45c per item) with no barcodes currently costs $135.00. However, 300 letters lodged offpeak with PreSort can offer savings of up to 34%- reducing this cost to just $88.00
Your address database is run against Australia Post-approved Address Matching software, which uses the Postal Address File (PAF) containing approximately 10,000,000 address records from around Australia, each of which is allocated a unique 8-digit number (Delivery Point Identifier, or DPID). The software finds a match to the addresses contained in the PAF, and a barcode is then generated on the envelope using the DPID.
Confused yet? Not so says Australia Post which is providing consultants to help get the system up and running with the minimum of fuss.
Australia Post says the barcoding system is part of a massive transformation of the postal service with a $500 million investment in new mail processing facilities in Sydney and Melbourne and upgrades of existing mail centres around the country.
And the major benefit for organisations using the PreSort service, according to Australia Post, is the saving in postage.
Another major benefit is quality addressing from your database along with improved reliability of mail delivery.
One organisation that says it is reaping enormous financial benefits from converting to the system is the Salvation Army.
Corporate Communications Director, Major Margaret Armstrong says the Salvos have been using the barcoding system for six months with the big test being its Christmas Appeal campaign.
Major Armstrong says the huge discounts available on bulk mail-outs with barcodes has meant huge savings in the order of $1000s for each mail-out.
Apart from the considerable financial benefits, she says the amount of return-to-sender mail is dramatically reduced and their own database is far more accurate.
Major Armstrong says one of the concerns the Salvation Army had initially was that the barcode, which appears above the name and address on the envelope, may be off-putting to prospective donors.
The Salvos sent out a test mailing with barcodes attached that were not linked to any software program but just to gauge donor reaction.
Major Armstrong says interestingly there was no negative reaction to the appearance of the envelope.
The RSPCA however says it still hasn’t embraced the new technology completely and is using a mail house to barcode its envelopes until it can bring the system in-house.
The RSPCA’s Donor Data Base Officer, Bev Withers says the problem is the dollar-factor in setting up the system initially.
Withers says while the organisation is conscious that it should be spending the money to save money down the track, it is just not that easy when administration funds for the start-up are tight.
Australia Post has a list of approved software package providers to assist organisations with the move to barcoding.
Let us know how your organisation is approaching the move to barcoding by joining our forum at probonoaustralia.com.au
http://www.datatools.com.au/whitepaper.htm – DataTools whitepaper available
http://www.blink.com.au – BLINK barcodes from Printsoft Products Pty Ltd
http://www.auspost.com.au/futurepost/index.asp?linkid=4.1478 – AMAS Approved Suppliers