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    How You Mail Your Proposals Can Make a Big Difference

    The United States Postal Service is reliable, usually, almost all the time… But what about when they do lose a letter, or more important, your grant proposal?

    It can happen, and it just did for one of my clients. I was expecting grant notification about a month earlier so called the foundation manager. They said they had never received the proposal, and had already made all their grant awards for the year. I had mailed the proposal regular mail without delivery confirmation.

    I thanked the foundation manager, and e-mailed the proposal for their records – I had included a lot of good program results along with the proposal and wanted them to have that information.

    I also leaned a big lesson, and I will NEVER mail a grant proposal or report again by regular mail. So, what are the options? FedEx is discouraged by many foundations because it is expensive, unnecessary (you didn’t need to wait until the last minute to submit the proposal), and doesn’t show that you are a good steward of your donors’ investments. Express Mail Service through the post office is also frowned upon for the same reasons.

    That leaves Priority Mail Service with delivery confirmation. And, if you’re like me and don’t like waiting in line at the post office, you don’t have to! You can print labels with postage from home, and mail from your very own mailbox. All you need to do is set up an account at USPS.com, pick up a stack of Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes from your post office (no waiting in line for that), and you’re ready to go.

    You don’t even need a postal scale because virtually all of your mailings will be less than 13 oz. and can be delivered for $4.75 with delivery confirmation. The best part is that you’ll even save money by mailing from home – the post office charges $4.95 for the same service. I guess they don’t like the long lines either!

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    Lynn deLearie, owner of Lynn deLearie Consulting, LLC, helps nonprofit organizations develop, enhance and expand grant programs, and helps them secure funding from foundations and corporations. She can be contacted at lynn.delearie@gmail.com..