At a time when online communication is a major consideration in successful constituent relationship management, the physical mailing addresses still plays a key role. While people do not regularly change their email address, change of physical address is much more common. The USPS reports that about 40 million people change their residence each year – that’s about 13% of the United States population. That 13% applies directly to your mailing list and shows how a neglected list can quickly become out of date.

Perhaps the most obvious reason to do an NCOA (National Change of Address) service on your list is to increase the deliverability of postal mail. An up-to-date mailing list ensures that time and money is not spent on mail that will never reach the recipient. NCOA serviced lists can expect higher response rates from postal mail appeals because the first hurdle has already been crossed, sending to the correct address. Also, nonprofits need to run an NCOA on their mailing list to receive a bulk rate discount from the USPS. Qualifying for the bulk rate and accurately reaching more people, it’s a win-win!

A less obvious benefit of an NCOA service is how it can impact your overall communication effectiveness. Say for example, your organization is doing a grassroots campaign and needs to contact your members (via email, phone call, etc.) in a certain city or county. With an outdated list you would not realize that 50 people from your list have moved out and that 150 people have actually moved into the area. The effectiveness of your campaign is off to a rocky start as there are already 200 people who will be missing out on the information or who have been incorrectly targeted.

An NCOA service can help your organization understand the shifting areas of supporters. You may find that your organization has new pockets of supports and areas where you can benefit from re-strengthening support.

You can order an NCOA data service here.