5-Minute Interview: Christopher Cleghorn, Easter Seals
On Jan. 8, 2006, the U.S. Postal Service implemented a postal rate increase of approximately 5.4 percent for Standard Mail and 3 percent for Nonprofit Standard Mail. It’s the first increase since 2002, and was established to fulfill the requirement of a federal law passed in 2003 that commands the Postal Service to establish a $3.1 billion escrow account, with use of the funds to be determined by Congress at a later date.
Christopher Cleghorn, executive vice president, direct and interactive marketing for Chicago-based nonprofit Easter Seals, spoke with Target Marketing on how the increase may affect his organization’s direct mail efforts.
Target Marketing: What is your perspective on the recent postal rate increase?
Christopher Cleghorn: We see this increase as reasonable. There hasn’t been a postal rate increase in three years. Frankly, if Congress would have released the escrow funds that are commonly accepted as belonging to the USPS, we would not be having this increase at all.
TM: Do you expect this increase to impact your direct mail programs?
CC: Although we never like to have cost increases, this will require only a little refinement of how we handle selections. We will make slight adjustments [to] what donor segments we mail for certain appeals, since the higher costs per piece will mean that some segments we previously mailed in given campaigns will no longer be sufficiently productive on a net basis.
At the same time, we hope that our continuing package testing will lead us to more effective results that will make up the difference.
TM: Do you foresee any trends in the way nonprofit mailers execute direct mail programs due to this increase?
CC: There really is not a major trend to attribute to [the increase]. There have always been cost increases for different products and services, including postal costs. We need to continue to test and refine our campaigns and overall focus on long-term donor cultivation.