Are your self-mailers compliant with the USPS changes?

Posted by Christina K. Bell

MailBeginning January 5, 2013, changes to self-mailer postal regulations officially take effect. Self-mailers, as defined by the United States Postal Service (the USPS), are letter sized folded pieces that do not have a binding, such as staples, and are not mailed inside of an envelope. Many nonprofits create, print, and assemble self-mailers in-house to distribute fundraising material, event announcements, newsletters, and other information regarding their organization. In an effort to reduce the damage these mail pieces sometimes encounter during the mailing process, beginning January 15th the USPS will officially implement changes in the way these self-mailers must be assembled. Many organizations may have already implemented these changes during the USPS’s 2012 transition period; however, if you’ve been putting this transition off, it’s officially time to change. The most notable changes to the assembly of self-mailers are as follows:

  • Final folds on the top will no longer be allowed
  • Self-mailers will now require two tabs instead of the current one tab
  • Quarter-fold self-mailers will need to be on #28 bond
  • Tri-fold and quarter-fold flyers and newsletters will need two tabs instead of the current one tab
  • Tabs placed on the bottom will no longer be allowed

These changes are important to note for a couple of reasons. If you’re a nonprofit that uses self-mailers as part of your marketing plan you may experience an increased cost during 2013 due to these changes and should plan your 2013 budget accordingly. Additionally, knowing of the changes now will help you assemble your organization’s first 2013 set of self-mailers correctly and eliminate any unnecessary headaches at the post office later.

The USPS has developed a quick reference guide which provides an overview of requirements with graphic illustrations. This can be found on RIBBS ( by looking up “Folded Self-Mailer” on the alphabetical or topic site indexes.

Photo by Oran Viriyincy (License)

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