Why A Letter Service?
Keeping in contact with friends and supporters is vital to all missionaries … but what is the best way to do that? The most obvious method is by newsletters or prayer letters, but doing all the work of copying and sending from the field really isn’t a viable option … so what else can you do?
- Have a friend or family member do all the work and send it for you;
- Have a supporting church do all the work and send it for you;
- Use a letter service.
While a friend or family member can mail it for you (and we started this service as a result of sending prayer letters for a friend), many times they are not able to drop everything when the prayer letter arrives and get it out in a timely manner Also, many times it becomes a burden for them, because not all people enjoy this type of work, and they may not be set up to address the envelopes except by hand.
Many churches mail prayer letters as a part of their support, but some may not have the necessary staff to do all of the work involved and must rely on volunteers to help with getting the prayer letters ready to mail. This can cause further delays in getting copies in the hands of your friends and supporters.
As a letter service, our sole business is doing the work for you and getting your letters mailed to your friends and supporters. We use personalized envelopes and your own letterhead. We also mail bulk rate (now known as “Standard Mail”) with “Address Service Requested”. This does two things:
- It cuts the cost of postage,
- It notifies us of any address changes.
If a letter is mailed standard mail without the “Address Service Requested” or similar endorsement, it is thrown away by the Post Office when a person moves since standard mail is not forwarded. If a letter is mailed 1st class, it is forwarded with a note asking the recipient to notify the sender of the change of address. Many people simply do not do this.
We had mailed our first missionary’s prayer letter for 16 months at first class rates, and the first month that we mailed it 3rd class with “address correction requested”, we had 8.6% come back with an address change. We later started mailing for another missionary for whom a friend had been mailing his prayer letter 1st class. The first time we mailed this person’s prayer letter we had 12.5% returned. Of these, 2.1% were not forwardable, most because the forwarding order had expired (a forwarding order is good for one year). On the second mailing we had only 3% returned within 13 working days after putting it in the mail, compared to 10.3% for the same period of time on the first mailing
By mailing this way we have confidence that what we mail will reach its intended recipient and that the money spent on wasted postage is minimal.