21st Century Mailing

Leader: Clint Ficula
Team: Ken Toy, M.J. Kim, Dawnmarie DeAngelo

Project Overview:
Harvard currently receives 100,000+ mail returns per year, which equates to postage fees, staff time to process, and lost opportunity cost with information not reaching intended audiences. This issue costs the University $70,000+ per year. Based on volume and areas of expertise, we will focus our attention on Alumni Affairs & Development to create a system for cleaning address information, for replacing manual returns with electronic files, and for improving the quality of incoming address information through bulk processing or real-time validation.

Project Objectives:
We intend to solve this issue through a three-pronged approach in Alumni Affairs & Development by:
• Establishing address format standards and utilizing vendors to clean addresses in our database regularly to meet these standards (with the goal of having US addresses CASS certified at source)
• Creating systems and processes for all bulk mailings to be sent with full service or electronic options (to reduce manual returns, return postage costs, and to speed up address correction processing time)
• Investigating cost and feasibility of real-time validation on input for University systems (to eventually stem the flow of bad data into the system)

Achievements:  The 21st Century Mailing team has implemented the standard of receiving updates and returns from Harvard Magazine quarterly. Additionally, updates and returns from Overseers will be processed yearly, allowing all AL records not reached by Harvard Magazine to be encapsulated. The viability of introducing electronic barcode updates and nixie notices will continue to be explored with help from units across Harvard Alumni Affairs. Working with central procurement and partner schools, the team intends to craft minimum standards for bulk mail for AA&D units. A list of preferred full-service vendors that manage bulk mail will also be compiled.