Using a bulk mailing permit and special equipment, I print and mail envelopes and postcards in high volume for campaigns. I started doing this during Matt Gonzalez' campaign for Mayor of San Francisco, with about 7,500 letters written in 5 different languages, and 18,000 postcards.

Neopost Inserter/Folder

My Neopost Si78 is an inserter/folder machine. It folds sheets of paper, inserts them into envelopes, then licks and seals the envelopes. Mine has three feeding stations, so three items can go into each envelope. Normally, I use it to ask for campaign donations, putting a one page letter, a brochure and a remit envelope into each No. 10 envelope. It is nine feet long and rated at 4000 per hour.

HP LaserJet 9000

I have two printers for use with the stuffing machine. If each letter is same, as in "Dear Friend," then I can print addresses directly on the envelope or postcard using a Freehand address printer. At 6000 pieces per hour, it's so fast that the ink can't dry before the next mail piece comes through. A conveyor carries each piece away from the printer, giving it time to dry.

However, I prefer personalized letters, as in "Dear [first name]." To ensure that such letters arrive at the correct address, I use window envelopes where the address printed at top of the letter shows through a clear area. I think these are more likely to be opened and more persuasive.

If you want me to mail for your campaign, please print this indicia where the stamp normally goes. This sample file is in Adobe Illustrator format. This file has the same indicia in Microsoft Word format. It demonstrates how to print barcoded envelopes from a mailing list.

Bulk Mail Indicia
Sample address

The postal service offers discounts for these barcodes. They require almost 4 inches of space, which is difficult to fit on a small postcard. I believe that if you're paying for expensive postage, don't skimp on the printing - send a larger piece that gets attention. Please see this page for graphic design ideas and this one for postcard thoughts.

There are many different discounts available, but you get the cheapest postage if you sort in the order that each mail carrier walks. Addresses must also be valid, standardized and certified. I have commercial software to figure all this out, and I'm integrating it into my custom campaign database. If you're budgeting a campaign, 20 cents per piece is not an unusual postage rate.

I frequently use a mailhouse for large voter mailings. The post office has new Merlin barcode readers with tighter tolerances, and it's difficult to print on glossy postcards. For a very reasonable fee, Kim can handle these big jobs, at American Business Communications.

American Business Communications

I'm convinced that winning elections requires a thorough understanding of both the art and logistics of communication. Hopefully, we're learning.