A comprehensive, accurate mailing list can be a marketer’s best friend. Your mailing list can unlock the power to laser focus your direct mail to the exact people you know will resonate with it. And a strong direct mail campaign gets your brand in your audience’s hands in a more memorable, concrete way than your average digital ad.

With a current mailing list, you can send out inspiring requests to donate to your organization that hit your exact target audience every time.

But how do you know if your mailing list is up to date? And what if it isn’t? Over time, mailing lists naturally become less accurate—which means more mail will return to you and less mail will land in front of your audience. An outdated mailing list can waste your money on mailing campaigns that don’t reach people. It’s in your organization’s best interest to keep mailing lists current and organized.

The best (and easiest) way to continuously refresh your list of contact information is to run National Change of Address (NCOA) screenings. The NCOA keeps track of when people move to a new address, so you can always meet your audience where they are.

Ready to send out a well-targeted, resonant direct mail campaign that sees actual returns? Let’s dive into how to run an NCOA screening and how you can make the most of your mailing list.

How to Run an NCOA Screening

If your organization has never completed an NCOA screening before, we recommend that you double-check as many of the addresses on your list as possible. First, take stock of which contacts are viable leads and which contacts could be removed from your system (for a variety of reasons). This will make your mailing more targeted and more efficient and will give you more resources to build new leads.

We suggest that for your first screening, you request a 48-month screening. This tells the NCOA to check any address changes from the past four years. Four years is a solid baseline for first-time NCOA screeners. After that, you should check NCOA data every 95 days to keep your list as current as possible—regular screenings are required if you have a bulk mail permit.

Once you’re ready to screen, provide your mailing list to your point of contact at Firespring. Firespring’s data team will run your list through NCOA and provide you with two data sets: a list of undeliverable addresses and a list of good forwarding addresses.

When you receive and review these lists from Firespring, you can then update your mailing list with the new forwarding addresses and remove the undeliverable addresses. Firespring can then handle all of your mailings.

A clean, organized list of correct addresses is one of the most powerful tools for successful mailing campaigns. Firespring can help you use the NCOA to your advantage every time you want to reach out to your donors to ensure they see your messages.

If you have any questions about building a direct mail campaign, streamlining your mailing list or managing NCOA, the Firespring print team has your back. Reach out to Firespring today to start your nonprofit’s most impactful mailing campaign yet.

Team up with the best darn print team around to create beautiful mailers, get them in the right mailboxes and start seeing results.

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