Contact Us at 760-480-2323

Nonprofit Donor Acknowledgement or Receipt Letters for Tax Purposes

Nonprofit organizations are required to provide donors with a receipt or acknowledgement of their donation so that the donor can claim the deduction on their taxes. This requirement is for donations over $250 but most organizations send these notice to all donors as a common courtesy.

These acknowledgements can be sent by mail or email and most nonprofits do both to ensure the donors receive this information to claim their deductions. Sending donations by mail helps to ensure that donors have a physical copy to use when filing their taxes and sending the letter right before taxes are filed with all their donations from the previous year helps organize all the receipts into one statement which is especially helpful for recurring donors. Sending statements by mail also ensures that donors do not skim over their emails and miss the letter.

Not only is this a requirement, but it is also an opportunity to thank your donors and cultivate your relationship with them. The statements can include additional collateral including thank you cards, information about how the donations were used, and requests for additional donations. This is a great time to ask for additional donations, because donors are reviewing their taxes and can see the deductions they are receiving for their donations.

These letters can be sent out right after donations are made but need to be received before January 31st. Often times it is best to send a statement for all donations in the prior year in January to ensure that all donations are included in a single statement.

Since this is a statement most times it will need to be sent first class mail but depending on how it is written the USPS may provide approval to use nonprofit rates.

Many times CRM software will generate these statements automatically, but it is best to consult Action Mail prior to ensure that the output file is optimized for the best postage rate and most cost effective processing.

Donor Receipt and Acknowledgement letters are great ways to show your donors you appreciate their contribution and facilitate the redemption of tax benefits to them as well as to cultivate your relationship with your donors and increase future donations.

USPS Price Change January 27, 2019

On January 27, 2019 the USPS will have a rate change. This will effect all types of mail and packages, but the percent rate change will vary between service and classification.

Highlights of 2019 USPS Rate Change:

First Class Mail

  • Price of a First Class Retail Stamp is increasing from $0.50 to $0.55

  • First Class Additional Ounce Rates are decreasing from $0.21 to $0.15

  • First Class Flat/ Large Envelope and Postcard (4.25"x 6" or smaller) rates will remain the same

  • Presorted First Class rates will remain relatively constant with some classifications increasing slightly and others decreasing

Presorted Standard Mail

  • On average Presorted Standard Mail postage will increase by about 3%

Nonprofit Mail

  • Nonprofit rates will increase by 1-3%

First Class Package

  • First class package rates will increase by about 11.9%

  • The USPS is moving to zone based pricing similar to how Priority Mail is price

  • We offer alternatives to first class package service with slightly longer delivery times but significant price saving

Priority Mail

  • Priority Mail rates will increase by about 5.9%

  • Similarly to first class mail we offer alternatives to priority mail with slightly longer delivery times but significant price saving

We are here to help you navigate these price changes and will help you get the lowest postage rate. Please visit for more details. Please call or e-mail us if you need any help or have any questions.

2019 Postage Rates

International Mailing at Discounted Rates

Sending mailings internationally may seem expensive, but Action Mail can help you get discounted rates on international mailings.  Action Mail can ship mail directly into the country where the mail pieces will be delivered.  This avoids using USPS international rates and enables faster delivery at lower rates.

 Rates and delivery time will depend on the country mail is being delivered to as well as the type and size of the piece.  The volume of the mailing will also effect the cost to mail internationally.  Contact an Action Mail representative to learn more about this process and we can provide an estimate based on your volume, destination of the mail piece and the type of mail piece

Invitation Mistakes that Can Cost Thousands in USPS Postage

Creating the perfect invitation for your event is important to publicize the event and create excitement.  Whether the event is fundraiser, gala, meeting, or corporate event the design of the invitation is important in branding the event.  Though there are a few simple steps that could save thousands on USPS Postage and mailing fulfillment of bulk mailed invitations.  Below are a few thing to look out for.

Size: Square envelopes and envelopes with the smaller side being larger than 6.125" have significantly higher postage rates.  Typically it is recommendable to use stock envelope size like A-6, A-7, A-8, A-9, A-10 etc.  This will save on the envelope cost and and postal savings.

Color of Envelope: Many times invitations have color envelopes. The issues with colored envelopes is if they are too dark the USPS cannot differentiate the barcode from the envelope and will not be able to pass the envelope through the USPS automation machinery resulting in higher postage rates.  This happens with metallic envelopes and envelopes on darker colors. There are USPS automation envelopes available or Action mail can review the envelopes and provide them to the USPS to sample on their machinery.

Envelope Flaps: Many invitation envelopes have a non-machinable flap.  This design which has a large flap that has square corners is not able to run on automated inserting machinery.  Selecting an envelope with a small flap with rounded corners will allow Action Mail to use automation machinery and reduce your fulfillment costs.

There are many ways to send a bulk mail invitation and many different price points.  Feel free to contact us and discuss your design plans and we would be happy to provide feedback and steps to reduce costs while still maintaining the branding and look you desire.




San Diego Direct Mail House

For local mailings to the greater San Diego area using a local direct mail house like Action Mail can save money, speed up delivery times and add convenience.  We have been serving the San Diego area for over 20 years and have the expertise and experience to help with your next direct mail campaign.

There are a number of benefits to working with a local San Diego mailer for your direct mail campaigns., which include:

Save Money:

For mailings in San Diego county if mail pieces are sent to the local SCF Post Office savings on postage can be as high as $0.04.  Typically Action Mail delivers most mail to the San Diego SCF post office, but Action Mail will also review your mailing list and let you know if there would be any additional cost savings by delivering to a different post office.

Save Time:

For mailings going to the San Diego area, if mail pieces are delivered to the local SCF the delivery times should be quicker than if they were delivered to another post office.  Mailing locally in San Diego will also reduce the delivery time to the post office and the delivery time of materials to Action Mail's facility


Located in Escondido, Action Mail is conveniently located next to the 15 freeway.  We are always happy to meet with clients and store materials at our facility.

Even if your mailing is outside of San Diego, Action Mail can still assist with the mailing and printing, as we work with many national campaigns and can even ship products directly to local post offices still saving time and money.  Contact Us to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

How to Add Bleeds For Printing

Bleeds are important to add to your print files to ensure that artwork extends to the edge of the printed piece.  Printers cannot print to the edge of a piece of paper so bleeds are created so that printing is done on a large sheet which is then cut so that the artwork extends to the edge of the piece.

To setup your artwork with bleeds you will need to add the bleeds to the document when creating the document.  Typically it is best to add a 0.125" bleed to all sides.  This can be done in the new document screen as seen below.


It is important that you do not include any artwork that you do not want cut of in the bleed area.  It is also recommended that you leave a 0.125" buffer from the edge of the piece to the further ensure that no important text or images get trimmed.  You will see a white space which indicates the finished size of the piece and then a red line which shows the edge of the bleed.  All artwork that is not to be trimmed should be included in the white space.

Bleed lines.JPG


Once you have created your design you will then need to save the file to a PDF bleeds.  On the save menu select Marks and Bleeds.  It is helpful to select Trim Marks (though we can add them after).  You will also need to ensure that the bleeds are exported.  If you have setup bleeds in the document it is best to select Use Document Bleed Settings.  If you have not then you can add the bleeds here, just make sure that your artwork extends past the edge of the finished size.


Including bleeds in the creation of your artwork will help ensure that printing is setup correctly and that your artwork will not need to be manipulated to ensure that bleeds are included.  Bleeds are essential if you want your artwork to extend all the way to the edge of the piece.

How to Export Files to get the best Print Quality

Print quality starts with the design of the printed piece.  We recommend using Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign.  Most issues that effect print quality are a result of the colors used and the the quality of the images.

It is also important to use high quality images.  We recommend using images that are at least 600 DPI or the highest resolution images you have available.  The use of lower quality images can result in blurry or pixelated images once printed.

It is also very important that the colors used are CMYK.  RGB colors that are used in web design will need to be converted to CYMK to be printed and could be slightly different than expected. It is also important to note that your computer output RGB images so comparing a printed version to the version you see on your computer may be slightly different.

To save your file with the correct color settings we recommend converting all colors to CMYK.  To do so on the output tab of your export menu select Color Conversion: Convert Colors to Destination (Preserve Numbers).  The destination will typically be U.S. Sheetfed Uncoated v2 or U.S. Sheetfed Coasted v2 depending on what material you will be printing on.  Also select do not include Destination Profiles.  If there are spot colors in you art there will be an Ink Manager button.  Select this button then check the box to convert All Spots to Process, which will convert all spot colors to CMYK.


Using these steps to export your files will help increase the quality of you prints and ensure that your colors are setup correctly.  This is the simplest, most basic method to create high quality print files, but there are others you may select if you have a better grasp on the exact output you are looking to create.

International Shipping

Whether you want to ship mail or parcels internationally Action Mail can help.  Depending on what you are shipping as well as where the shipments will be sent will determine your shipping strategy.

Action Mail can send shipments through any carrier including USPS, DHL, Fedex, UPS etc, but we can also ship mail directly into the country where it will be delivered and put the mail in the local mail stream.  How this is done depends on the type of mailing or shipment and the country that it is going to.  It is best to provide as much information as possible so we can best assess the mailing and how best to send the mailing.

Action Mail can also provide support with customs documentation and the best way to ship products to ensure that customs are assessed correctly without delaying shipments.

International shipments can be difficult to navigate, especially if shipping to countries that do not have the best postal infrastructure but Action Mail is her to help.

How long does standard mail take to be delivered?

The USPS does not give a set time for how long standard mail (marketing mail) should be delivered as they process the mail as quickly as they can but first class mail always takes precedent.  Standard mail can take anywhere from 1 to 27 days to be delivered sometimes even longer, but typically we see 3-15 days.

Delivery times depend on where the piece is going, the type of mail piece, as well as the time of year and work load of the postal service.

Below is a map from the post office indicating the service standard delivery times, but these times are not set in stone.  These times are from the originating post office in San Diego, but depending on your database we can deliver to Los Angeles or anywhere in Southern California or drop ship anywhere in the country to expedite delivery times and decrease postage.


For time sensitive piece is it best to send first class mail which will take 1-3 days to be delivered, but the postage costs are much higher.

It is difficult to predict deliver times on standard/marketing mail but the best option is to use the map above and ensure that there is a few day buffer.  You can also track your mail to get a better idea of the delivery times, but keep in mind that each mailing may have different results depending on the time of year and how the USPS work load is looking.




What is CASS Certification

CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) certification is a service which helps ensure your list is accurate.  When a list is processed for bulk mail rates part of the procedure is to CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) certify the list. 

This is a service the Action Mail provides to measure the quality of your address database and to compare it to what the USPS has as valid address. If a record comes back as non-cassed ,  this means it did not match up with what any address that the USPS has registered.  There could be a number of reasons that it did not CASS, some as simple as a misspelled street name or an incorrect suite number.  During the CASS certification process our software will also automatically correct some addresses to match exactly what the USPS has on file.  We will also add the Zip +4 to help ensure timely and accurate delivery.

When each list is processed Action Mail will send a list of Non-Cass records, or records that did not match with the addresses the USPS has registered as deliverable addresses.  What we suggest you do is take a look at the non-cassed records and try make as many corrections as you can.  This can be a tedious task of looking up old records, correcting misspellings, contacting people to get the correct addresses or doing internet research, but if you can maintain accurate databases this will ensure that your mail gets sent to the correct addresses.  If you send to the non-cassed records then there is a good chance they won’t be delivered and it will result in money wasted on postage and printing.

Typically we recommend correcting or removing the non-cassed records, especially if they are sent standard mail.

What is USPS Full Service intelligent Mail

Full service Intelligent Mail® is a technology that is required for automation discounts and allows for extensive tracking of your mail campaigns.  Automation mail is barcoded for the USPS' processing equipment. Intelligent Mail® uses barcodes to assist the USPS in sorting mail therefore allowing the sender to receive a discount on the mailing. 

The discounts associated with Full Service Intelligent Mail® are $0.001 per piece in addition to the additional postage discounts associated with presorting mail.

The benefits of utilizing Intelligent Mail® are two-fold. Firstly, the sender will be able to take advantage of the discounts indicated above.  Action Mail passes these discounts directly onto our clients. Further, the increased tracking capabilities of the mail will give you the power to follow every piece of mail to delivery. If you are interested in tracking services an additional code will need to be inserted into the barcode to enable this tracking service.  With improved tracking you know exactly when each piece of mail is delivered. In addition, this tracking allows you to coordinate your direct mail campaigns with follow-up campaigns to develop the integrated nature of your marketing efforts.  Action Mail applies Full Service Intelligent Mail barcodes to all mail that qualifies and gets you the lowest postage rates your mail piece qualifies for.

 Please contact an Action Mail representative at 760-480-2323 to see if your mailing qualifies for automation and the Intelligent Mail® discounts.

Printing Personalized Color Letters at Lower Costs

Printing personalized letters is often times more expensive than printing static print as the printing process can be different.  The difference in cost will depend mostly on the quantity as for larger quantities it is much more cost effective to offset print static images.  Yet, there are a few ways you can print personalized color letters at lower costs.

In order to reduce the price many times it is preferable to print static shells then over print the variable information onto the shells.  This can drastically save money especially if the shells are printed in color but the variable personalized information is in black and white. 

Typically Action Mail will overprint variable data with a digital laser printer but it is even cheaper to print the variable data on our inkjet printers.  The inkjet printers have a limited 4 inch space which they can print on and the print quality is not as good as a laser printer, but this can significantly reduce costs and for some pieces it will be difficult to tell which printer the personalization is printed on.

Non-profit postage rates

One of the advantages of being a non-profit is that the USPS has heavily discounted rates that non-profits can use to send direct mail.  These rates depend on the distribution of the list but are almost half the cost of standard mail rates.

Non-profit postage rates qualify for standard mail postage which is slower than first class mail and typically takes 3-10 days depending on where they are going and how quickly the post office can process them.

Non-profit postage can be applied to a mailing either by a stamp, meter, or permit.  A nonprofit organization does not need to have a permit to mail at nonprofit postage rates, as they can use Action Mail's but they will need to have the nonprofit status approved by the USPS.  This non profit authorization consist of an application supplied to the USPS for review.  There are certain requirements the USPS has for non profit mail, and just because an organization has non profit status does not automatically qualify the organization for non profit USPS postage rates.

In addition to being authorized to mail at non profit rates the organization will also have to include the exact return address on the mail piece which the organization is registered as.

Please contact us and we can help you navigate the USPS nonprofit mailing status of your organization and help ensure your organization can qualify for these highly discounted rates.

Online Print and Mail Pricing

Online pricing is convenient, but for print and mail everything should be customized for your specific project.  Often times printing a specific size or paper weight can save thousands in postage costs as well as providing a completely different look and feel. Instead of inputting specs into an online calculator it is better to walk through your project and goals with an expert who can provide the lowest price for the objectives you are looking to accomplish.

Often times online print and mail prices are on the lower side, but that is because you get what you pay for.  Many times these are cookie cutter solutions with low quality paper and list hygiene that may not represent your company adequately. 

Anytime you see postage advertised online beware.  Postage should be calculated based on your list, and any company that has an all inclusive pricing is likely to be making money on your postage.  At Action Mail we prefer to estimate postage high and charge the amount that is owed to the post office for your mailing once we have calculated the exact rate.

Online direct mail pricing is available, but even if this looks like the cheapest option keep in mind that mailing can be complex and there are often different tricks to reduce postage and printing costs as well as increase ROI.  It is best to contact us to receive a customized quote for your specific project and goals.  In the long run this could save you lots of money and our direct mail and print experts are happy to give advice on the most cost effective methods to print and mail as well as suggestions to increase ROI.

Quick Turnaround Political Mailings

Political landscapes change quickly and the key to a great campaign is sending the correct messaging at the correct time.  Action Mail specializes in quick turnarounds and is here to support your election direct mail campaigns.  Contact Us to get a better estimate on the turn around for your specific project.

Turnarounds depend on the size of mailing, size of the piece, complexity, and location, but typically we can turn around political mailings in 24 hours.  If they are local in the San Diego area, we can also deliver them to local post offices for expedited delivery by the USPS.  San Diego mailings typically get delivered in 1-3 days as they are tagged as election mail.  For mailings outside of San Diego we can drop ship the mailing which adds a few extra days depending on the distance.

In order to expedite your political mailings it is important that your artwork is setup correctly, all data is properly formatted and organized, proofs can be approved quickly, and that funds are ready to pay for postage.  There is also the option of pre-printing shells that just need to be addressed, which will save time and money, but limits the flexibility of changing messaging.  Anything you can do to prepare for the mailing beforehand will help expedited the turnaround time.

At Action Mail we know the importance of rush turnaround times for political mailings and are here to support your campaigns.



Political Mailing Personalized Targeting

With mid-term elections around the corner it is important to make sure your political mailings are targeting the right individuals for your political campaign.  Political marketing campaigns should be highly targeted, because the data is readily available and your messaging and outreach can be tailored for each specific voter.  This increases the effectiveness of your direct mail political marketing campaigns while saving money on postage.

Action Mail can provide lists based on voting trends, demographic information, or basically anything you think would be relevant to your political campaign.  Action Mail can also access list of large donors for outreach campaigns. The amount of data available for political campaigns is immense and if utilized correctly can make huge differences to your campaign.

The data available for direct mail campaigns is as vast as that of Facebook and can even be more personalized with variable data printing.  Yet, direct mail is much more trusted as the sources of the data are much more transparent than Facebook.  Especially now with the negative reputation of political Facebook ads, direct mail is playing a much larger part in election marketing.  

The game has changed in direct marketing, as everything is about data and personalization.  Connect directly with your voters and tailor your messaging directly to each segment.  Data is king and if used correctly can really make a difference in political campaigns.

Variable Image Printing

With digital printing you can easily incorporate variable text or imagery into your printing.  This is commonly used when printing is personalized with variable text like the name or any associated datapoints.  Yet, you can also pull variable imagery like variable product photos customized to prior purchases, variable imagery based on location or variable imagery based on demographics.  The ability to customize your printing to personally target individuals is very effective.  Just putting someone's name on a piece makes a big difference, but if you can customize your printing to be more personalized your ROI will increase.

With variable image printing you can also incorporate various logos for marketing that involves multiple companies and branches.  This enables printing to be gang run at the same time, saving on setup costs and often enabling your mailings to qualify for lower postage rates. 

It is also common to use different images for different customer segments.  If you can segment your house data incorporating images that will resonate with each segment will help increase your ROI.

The more your campaign can be targeted and personalized the better it will be to improve your ROI and help you tailor the experience your customers and prospects have with your company.

Who should my marketing target?

You best customer is a current customer.  You should do all you can to market to your current customers, but when looking for new leads and prospect who should you market to?


The answer is simple market to people or businesses who look like your current customers.  Your customer database is extremely valuable not for just being able to market to your current customer base but also to better understand your customer base and why they use your product or service.

At Action Mail we can take your current customer database and append demographic data to it and provide a demographic report of your customers.  This will help you better understand what your customers look like including age, income, geographic distribution, gender, ethnicity, education level, marital status, and many more demographic indicators.  This information is very helpful in understanding the demographics of your customer base and how to market directly to them in ways that they can relate to.

In addition to helping you understand your customer database Action Mail can also help you market directly to audiences that look like them.  Using the information gathered in the analysis of your customer database, Action Mail can generate a list of new prospect that have the same demographic composition as your current customers.  This takes the guess work out of developing a marketing plan and you can look to gain more customers similar to the ones that have proven to generate revenue.

Action Mail can then help you design a direct mail campaign to target these individuals and can even help you develop specific messaging targeted at each segment.  Targeting the right people is the key to any successful direct mail campaign and what better place to start than targeting people with the same characteristics as your current customers.

Data Encryption for Mailings

Some mailings require additional protections to ensure data remains confidential when sent between parties.  For most of these mailings we use PGP encryption to protect data.  Depending on your data requirements we can always adjust to comply with your policies, but PGP encryption is most common in the industry.

Since different industries require different data security for mailings and each company typically has their own systems to protect and manage data, we will look to comply with the systems you have setup to manage your data.  Though if systems are not developed we recommend that you acquire a PGP encryption software to encrypt data that will be sent for processing.

PGP stands for Pretty Good Encryption and each file is encrypted and locked with a public key.  The only way for this file to be decrypted is for the owner of the public key to use their private key to unlock the file.  There are a number of PGP software providers but we prefer to use Symantec.

Data security is big part of direct mail  Action Mail will always keep files confidential and will work with your data management plan to make sure mailings and data storage complies with your policies.  

HIPAA Compliant, Protecting Data in the USPS Mail Stream

When sending confidential information or information the needs to be HIPAA compliant it is important that the information remains confidential even once it is mailed.  It is a federal offense to tamper with and/or open mail addressed to someone else, but precautions need to be taken to ensure information remains confidential while the mail remains unopen.  

It is important to use security tint envelopes that will prevent the contents from being seen through an unopened envelope.  Security envelopes have patterns on the inside of the envelope so that if someone tries to look through the envelope they will be unable to read the contents.  There are a few different tints available, but regardless of the tint security envelopes will be sufficient to ensure the data concealed in the envelope will not be able to be deciphered by looking through the envelope.

Many companies take the precaution of using security tint envelopes with confidential and HIPAA compliant mailings, but many do not evaluate whether confidential information will be able to be seen through the window on and envelope. It is important to design your mail piece to ensure that no confidential data can be seen through the window, as this can be seen by mail carriers and other individuals who come in contact with unopened mail.  Once inserted into envelopes letters will move, mail houses are required by the USPS to tap the contents of the letter to the bottom of the envelope and ensure that the address fits to a specific area within the window.  Yet, it is very likely that the letter can shift up in the envelope while the mail is being processed.  It is important to understand this and design the letter so that confidential matter cannot be seen if the envelope shifts.  The best way to do this is to ensure that the confidential contents are below the fold and thus cannot be seen regardless of how the letter shifts in the envelope.

It is important to take any step to safeguard confidential information. Ensuring the use of security tint envelopes as well as designing the contents appropriately will help ensure that confidential information cannot be seen when the piece is in the USPS mail stream