What’s the difference and which should I choose?
First Class mail is processed by the USPS on a priority basis… it goes to the front of the USPS line. Locally, first class will typically be delivered in 1-2 days and nationally, all of it should be delivered by about 4 days. If your party has moved, your mail will be forwarded at no charge for a period of 1 year. If it’s undeliverable, it will be returned to you at no charge with the reason for non-delivery.
First Class Presort:
First Class Presort offers postage savings when you have 500 or more mail pieces. It’s handled with the same first class priority processing, but due to the quantity, you can get about a 20% postage savings. To receive the lower postage rate, the addresses must be NCOA address updated, CASS certified, and put in to a presort order. This is certification and sorting is best done by AD-Vantage as it requires specialized software.
Standard Mail is the new term for “bulk mail”, and if you want to go way back, it used to be called 3rd class mail. Standard Mail is processed by the USPS on a “time available” basis. There is NO guaranteed delivery time, only “typicals”. Local mail is typically delivered in about 3-6 work days, national mail can be 1-4 weeks… sometimes its faster… but sometimes its slower. Consequently, NEVER use Standard Mail if you have a rapidly approaching event or expiration date. Standard mail is not forwarded and not returned if undeliverable. It merely goes in to the USPS recycling bin.
There are two very big “pros” to Standard Mail. It’s the least expensive postage mode, a bit more than half the price of 1st class, which enables you to mail lots more for less. It also allows up to 3.3 ounces, all for the same low postage rate. And if you mail is heavier than 3.3, the weight surcharge increases very “gently”.
Nonprofit is simply a favored postage rate within Standard Mail. It’s processed exactly the same, but gets even deeper discounts that can be 70% less than the cost of first class. If you are a nonprofit, you can apply to the USPS for these special rates by completing application form 3624. More info can be found here