Where is all the paper?

Plan ahead

By Heather Slack-Ratiu

May 13, 2022

It is true. We are all feeling the pinch…at home and at the office. And the paper crisis feels like the toilet paper shortage of 2020!

Interestingly, demand over the past five years for paper was about 5%. Then, in response to the pandemic, one-third of the paper mills were taken out of the market to mirror the supply and demand. These machines were retooled for products and packaging which make more money. However, in 2021, pressure returned for paper, but the equipment wasn’t there to help. This has left us with the current, restrictive paper allocations and scurrying to maintain our direct fundraising mail plans.

Then, add in postal increases. Costs are going up July 10, 2022. That high touch, personalized piece of mail with a first class stamp will increase from $.58 to $.60. And non-profit mailings will jump 4% to $.007 per piece.

The experts shared five keys to help you navigate the paper crisis and postal increases:

  1. Plan WAY ahead. Even planning 6-9 months ahead of time will impact your budgeting. It is not too early to plan for 2023 and beyond.
  2. Be flexible. Closed face envelopes are more available right now. Though, we acknowledge that it makes the package more expensive to mail.
  3. Save money with versioning. Dig into the data and target different audiences rather than doing another campaign.
  4. Add digital. Consider implementing pre and post emails to supplement your direct mail marketing efforts.
  5. Communicate with your printer. Remember, paper is always charged when it is delivered, not when it is ordered! They are doing their best…so talk through your package plans to see if they can help save you money with different paper options.

One of the experts shared his prediction…it may be 12-18 more months of demand before supply returns. If that is the case…patience and planning will be our best bet.

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