One of the most common complaints from NBRC members that seems to appear on internet roller forums, email groups, and chat rooms, has to do with a few members complaining that they have not received their Bulletin on time. There are a number of reasons for this. By providing the members with more information about the mailing process we hope to earn a little more understanding of the sources of some of the problems so that, hopefully, some of them can be avoided in the future.
The NBRC has long used Standard Mail, aka “bulk mail”, as the method for mailing the bulletins to its membership. The advantage of using Standard Mail is that bulk mailing prices are significantly lower than single-piece prices, which saves both the NBRC and its members a lot of money. Setting this up requires the NBRC to pay an annual mailing fee to obtain a bulk mailing permit. Paying the annual mailing fee grants the organization permission to mail a specific class of mail from a certain specific postal facility for 365 days. For instance, you would need to have two different permits to mail presorted First-Class Mail and Standard Mail bulk mailings from the same office.
Differentiating from “First-Class”, organizations use this Standard Mail bulk mail to send printed information of all types, flyers, circulars, newsletters, bulletins, and catalogs. All these Standard Mail prices are bulk prices at a reduced rate, and each mailing must meet a minimum quantity of 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail. There is no single-piece Standard Mail, “bulk mail”, postage rate.
So in order to mail a single piece replacement copy when a member says he has not received his copy of the Bulletin, the NBRC cannot use bulk mail to send it from another post office. (An organization must hold a mailing permit and pay an annual mailing fee at every Post Office where it needs to enter and process Bulk Mail.) Therefore, replacement bulletins must be sent out First Class at a cost of about $9 which the NBRC must then pass on to members who request a replacement.
There are several other challenges here for the NBRC. With bulk mailing there is no way to track whether each address listed has received its Bulletin and the priority of this mail is the lowest priority. If the address is incorrect, the mailing is simply discarded by the USPS.
Because of these factors, in EVERY NBRC BULLETIN, on the page following the Secretary – Treasurer Report, is a page with the following information:
TO HELP PREVENT DELIVERY FAILURE OF YOUR BULLETIN…\
Please check your mailing address label.
- Your renewal date is listed on top of the label, and lapse in keeping dues current will result in automatic membership expiration. Please insure your renewal dues are paid in advance of the expiration date.
- Incorrect information such as a misspelled street name or house number may lead to non-delivery. If you note any discrepancy between the label information versus your actual address, please notify the club immediately.
Please inform the club immediately of any change of address.
- If you have moved or are planning to relocate and know the address, please remember that the United States Postal Service does not forward “bulk” mail.
- Unlike first-class mail, the post office will not attach a “yellow sticker” to your bulletin and send it to your new address. Equally important, it will not be returned to the sender, so the club will be unaware of the non-delivery. Your copy of the bulletin will be classified as “undeliverable” and discarded on premise.
Blocking “junk mail” will affect delivery of your bulletin.
- If you have blocked the delivery of “junk mail” to your mailing address, the US Postal Service will not deliver your Bulletin. The NBRC Bulletin is mailed at bulk rate and therefore receives the same treatment as advertising flyers, etc. By refusing bulk rate items to be delivered to your address, you are in effect refusing bulletin delivery.
- To prevent this, the Bulletin can be sent “first class mail” for an additional $18.00charge added to your annual membership dues. This is necessary to prevent the club from incurring monetary loss.
Lost in Mail, Back Issues, and Extra Copies
- Any bulletin lost in the mail for an unknown reason will be replaced without charge.
- A bulletin not received because of failure to inform the club of relocation will cost $9.00to replace.
- Back issues and/or extra copies of the bulletin are available at a cost of $9.00each. Contact the club for availability.
The most common reasons for undelivered Bulletins are that folks simply don’t keep their dues current, nor inform the NBRC officers of changes of address. Time and time again, the officers of the NBRC respond to many requests such as, “Please check to see why I have not received my Bulletin since November.” And the response of the Secretary-Treasurer is inevitably something like, “Of course you haven’t. Your dues expired in December!” or “You have not updated your address listing since you moved.” Again, members whose Bulletins are not delivered because they have allowed their NBRC Membership to lapse should expect to pay the $9 fee if they wish to receive any issues they missed as a result. But in most cases, if someone misses their Bulletin, they are quick to blame the NBRC, regardless of the reason, and demand that the officers, who are all VOLUNTEERS, and many of whom have full time jobs, do the leg-work to figure out why. In most cases it is a simple matter of members checking their address listing each year in the March-April issue to make sure it is correct in every way (especially if they have moved), and checking the mailing label on each issue of the Bulletin to see when their membership expires and being sure to renew it.
For example, in one instance, a member’s address listing was DEGROOT Road. The actual address is De Groot Road. As we said, when there is a variation in the address, when the mailing address is incorrect, the USPS will many times simply discard the bulk mailing rather than deliver it and potentially create more work for themselves if it goes to the wrong place. It is a very common mistake for members’ handwriting to be difficult to read, or for them to miss entering a space somewhere.
If you move one house away from your current residency; for example from 12 Oak Road to 14 Oak Road, the Post Office regulation is that the bulletin be discarded into the trash bin due to an incorrect address. Even though the same mail carrier knows you, is aware you moved next door, and has delivered your mail for years, he/she is supposed to trash your bulletin. And, if so, the NBRC has no way of knowing you failed to receive it. It is imperative that you have the exact, correct address on file with the club!
These are the two most common frustrating causes for undelivered Bulletins and the biggest source of unnecessary work for the officers, and this is why we ask members to check their addresses when they update their memberships and when the March-April Bulletin comes out with membership listings.
In summary… the club cannot afford to mail the NBRC Bulletin, first class, to every member unless the NBRC were to increase its membership fees by 18 dollars per member, in order to cover the expense of doing so. Bulk (standard) mail keeps the cost down. The downside is that, while all bulletins are mailed at the same time from the print shop, the local or regional post office is in no hurry to process delivery because they aren’t making a lot of money on bulk mail to support their business, nor do they deem the item to be of great importance or else first class mailing would have occurred. So, occasionally, some get lost in the shuffle. Often the postal facility will hold these mailings until such a time when they have little or nothing else to do before processing, affording them absolutely NO priority. These things will vary from post office to post office, and explains why your friend in a nearby town may have received his Bulletin while you have not.
Now that the NBRC has a stable and current website, we plan to consider offering an E-Bulletin at some point, which will eliminate many of these headaches for the members and officers alike. This will add another tier of administrative duties to the already over-burdened officers and will take time to set up, but this may be another improvement that we can make in the near future. Hopefully you, as members, now understand a little more about the bulk mailing process of the Bulletin and what you can do to help insure that you get it in a timely fashion.
NBRC Director at Large