What Do I Do With All These Freshly Printed Bulletins?
Hand em outThe simplest, cheapest method. Take the bulletins to chapter meeting and hand them out or place them in a prominent place where members may pick up a copy.
But theres a problem with this: Members present may forget to take their copy; absent members miss out altogether. Theres no solution for the first. For the second some editors check with the man taking meeting attendance and mail a copy to the absentees. Costly and inefficient, but it gets the job done.
Mail em allVery costly if first-class postage must be used. Less than half the cost if the chapter has a bulk mailing permit and the editor has a mailing list of at least 200 names.
Simple mathematics show that 100 copies mailed at the present (circa 1993) 29¢ first-class postal rate will cost $29. Two hundred copies mailed at the present rate (also c. 1993) for bulk, non-profit users will cost $22.40; a saving of $6.60 each issue. Of course, the major portion of that saving will be lost to the expense of printing an additional 100 copies.
So why bulk mail?The advantage of a bulk mail permit becomes obvious if, periodically, a chapter sends out hundreds (or thousands) of fliers for its annual show, membership drive, open house or other special event. The bulletin editor takes advantage of the bulk permit simply because its there; already bought and paid for. It bears the same annual renewal cost whether its used or not.
The editor may cost the chapter a few hundred bucks in postage each year, sending out at least 200 copies per issue (the minimum required by the U.S. Postal Service) but there are unseen benefits: The bulletin can be directed to a number of non-member friends valued by the chapter, and the editor can establish an extensive exchange with other bulletin editors throughout the Society.
The principal disadvantage to bulk mailing (other than expense) is preparation. Pieces must be sorted and bundled according to Postal Service regulations. This requires that they be segregated by state and/or distribution centers and/or zip code prefixes. A time consuming task requiring preparation and practice. Complete instructions and labelling supplies are available from the bulk mailing clerk at your local main post office. It should be noted that bulk mail may not be delivered promptly. Delays of as much as two weeks have been experienced.
AddressesA real chore. Hand-addressing a few bulletins is arduous; scores or hundreds, painful. Pre-printed adhesive labels are the answer, but theres get-started effort involved.
Computer buffs with data base management software can establish a simple data file of names and addresses that can be sorted by state and zip codes prior to printing. Then its a simple matter to print the file on adhesive labels supplied on continuous rolls.
For non-computerized editors, adhesive labels are supplied on 8½ x 11-inch sheets that may be printed from master sheets in most copy machines. The Avery Label Company is the best-known supplier of the sheets, and their products are availabe in most stationery shops.
The major effort with this method is the typing and updating of the master sheets, with all the zip codes arranged in numerical order.
Handy hint: Print two copies of the master sheets onto label sheets. Use one copy to label the current issue of the bulletins. Use the second copy as an alternate master for the next issue. Interim changes that occur may be entered on the alternate master by simply peeling off the label to be changed and sticking on a new, corrected label in its place.
This method is effective only as long as the mailing list remains relatively stable. Numerous additions and deletions can result in a royal foul-up