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Reminder: New Postal Service Mailing List Requirements in Effect

November 26, 2008

(Dec. 1, 2008) As of Nov. 23, the United States Postal Service now requires address lists for standard mail to be cleared of incorrect addresses every 95 days, rather than every 185 days as previously required.

The new ruling, announced earlier this year, is meant to decrease the number of undeliverable mail pieces processed by the post office. The rule has been expanded to Standard (nonprofit discount rate) mailings. It originally only applied to First Class mail

In order to meet the new Move Update standards, a mailer must update its addresses using one of five methods approved by the Postal Service. For a list of those methods and other information, click here. The method recommended by most mail houses is the National Change of Address (NCOA) update method.

“In my opinion, NCOA is the easiest and most effective method of cleaning the list of UAA mail,” explained AFP member Phyllis Robinette Burns in an Oct. 6 eWire story first announcing the new Postal Service rule. Burns owns and operates Burns Mailing & Printing Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn. “Not only does the change of address update keep the nonprofit within the specifications of the USPS, but is an effective way for nonprofit organizations to keep current with their donors who have moved. It reduces printing, mailing labor and postage of mail that would never reach donors.”

To comply, mailers must update their mailing lists to account for recipients who have moved every 95 days at minimum. For example, a mailing entered on Nov. 23 must bear names and addresses that were updated no earlier than August 20.

“In fiscal year 2004 the Postal Service handled 9.7 billion pieces of UAA [undeliverable-as-addressed] mail at a cost of $1.8 billion,” USPS notes in a press release. “The new standards will result in better address quality by removing incorrectly addressed pieces from subsequent mailings, which in turn will reduce undeliverable-as-addressed mail.

Nonprofit organizations that do not update addresses they mail to within 95 days, verified by submission of a Certificate of Move Update Compliance (PS Form 6014), may be charged First Class postage on their entire mailing.

For additional information, go to or contact the post office where you enter your mailings.


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