The U.S. Post Office, or USPS, defines newsletters as unenveloped letter-size mail pieces or self-mailers. Businesses, membership organizations and nonprofits use newsletters as a communication tool. Newsletters can be simple documents produced with templates or graphic works produced by professionals. Organizations may need to mail a few dozen newsletters or hundreds. Mailing newsletters as self-mailers saves on the time and cost of stuffing envelopes. The USPS requires you to perform some advance work to avoid the extra fees charged for nonmachinable mail, which is mail that does not meet standards for weight and sealing.
Print your newsletter on standard 8 ½ by 11 paper to accommodate the creation of a trifold self-mailer. This step is necessary for letter pricing whether you intend to use bulk mail processing or apply postage and drop the newsletters off in a mailbox. The USPS requires paper with a minimum 20 lb weight be used if mailing a trifold with two tabs for sealing. The requirements for the weight of paper used in one tab sealing depends on how many sheets of paper make up the document.
Fold your newsletter to a size that is at least 3 ½ inches high, 5 inches long and 0.007 inch thick and not more than 6 1/8 inches high, 11 ½ inches long and ¼ inch thick. A simple trifold creates a self-mailer that is equivalent to a No. 10 mailing envelope.
Seal the open end of your folded newsletter with adhesive tabs, water seals or tape. The USPS recommends putting the fold on the bottom of the newsletter, which is the side of the document below the address, and securing the open end at the top with adhesive tabs, water seals or tape. If you use one tab, USPS requires the folded edge at the bottom of the self-mailer; however, if you use two tabs, the folded edge may be at the bottom or top. When using two tabs, place the tabs within one inch of the edges of the mailer. Securing the open edges of the newsletter as required prevents the document from jamming in the USPS high-speed mail processing machines.
Sort your newsletters by zip code if you intend to use bulk mail processing and standard mail. You will need to contact the bulk mail facility in your area for a form and further instructions. Bulk mail postage is lower than single-piece postage since you presort the mail. The minimum requirement for the amount of pieces in a bulk mailing is 200 pieces of mail or 50 lbs of mail. A single piece of mail in the bulk mailing must weight less than 16 ounces. Newsletters , which the USPS does not require you to mail as first-class mail or periodicals, can be mailed as standard mail using lower prices available to nonprofit.
Take your newsletters to the post office for postage metering and mailing if you have fewer pieces than required for bulk mailing. You may also weigh and apply postage to your newsletters and drop them in a mailbox.
Save money on postage, and use less paper, by emailing newsletters to those who prefer electronic delivery.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.