Mail service as we know it is headed for extinction. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it is a only a matter of time.
Don’t believe it? Here are two items for you:
First. Budget deficits could force the US Postal Service to eliminate one delivery day, Postmaster General John E. Potter told Congress today.
Oh, and Saturday might not be the day they decide as the no-mail day, it could be “a light delivery day like Tuesday.” Potter testified, “Simply put, the Postal Service is in acute financial crisis.”
Second. Only 8 days before Postmaster General Potter testified, it was reported in the city of Howell near Detroit, that a part-time, fill-in mail carrier had kept thousands of pieces of unopened mail, including 988 first-class letters, in a self-storage unit that managers opened in September after she failed to pay her bill. Some of the mail had postmarks from 2005. The postmaster, Annette Koss, was quoted as saying, “We just didn’t understand it, it’s such a stupid thing to do.” Notice the only way the issue came to light was because she didn’t pay the bill on the storage unit.
Do you want to put your organization’s fundraising future in the hands of a government agency that might change the delivery rules; is having a rate increase in May (the rates won’t be announced until February—good luck with advance budgeting); and manages to hire mail carriers who can’t get around to delivering all the mail?
My point is not to defame the thousands and thousands of dedicated postal workers, but to point out that the post office, in spite of all the good people working there, is a dinosaur. Just like the big daily newspapers, it’s a matter of time.
Not extinct today or tomorrow or next month, but if you’re not actively working toward alternatives for your donor communication, you’re banking on a lumbering brontosaurus.
So what should you do? You have to start now exploring and testing. Right now. Hey, you’re reading blogs, that’s a good start.
Intelligent barcodes and co-mingling are a couple of ways the post office is helping non-profits mail smarter. And you can’t do without printed appeals or newsletters for now. But the clock is ticking!
Begin to think about integrating mail, phone and email in your development campaigns. The social media landscape is wide-open with opportunities. And many give the small organization an advantage!
Get out there and watch what others are doing. And stick around here, social media will be a steady topic on the Oneicity blog.