Direct Mail Acquisition List Co-Op: Requirements and Specifications

List Rental Basics

  • You are renting the names on each list for a one-time use only.
  • You are NOT allowed to load the rental names into your database for future mailings. The names become YOURS only when the person responds to your mailing.
  • If a person’s name appears on more than one list, you are allowed to mail to that person once for each time the name appears.
  • Request multiple hit names from your merge/purge processor to take advantage of multi-hit names.
  • List owners charge for the number of names delivered, NOT the number you actually mail to after merge/purge processing.
  • The higher the cross-over between a prospect list and your membership list, the better the list should do. If you find a list where there is NO cross-over, it is likely that the list will perform poorly.
  • The turn around time between receipt of the quantities available per list and the deadline for your final order is quite tight – sometimes as little as 48 hours. Note the deadlines on your calendar and if you will not be available, designate another staff person to handle the order.


  • You must cancel by the designated date to avoid penalties.
  • If you cancel after the designated date but before final orders are due, you will be assessed a penalty fee, but names will not be ordered so you can avoid per name charges.
  • If you neither CANCEL NOR place an order by the order deadline, an order will be placed on your behalf and you will be responsible for full payment.

Source Codes & Tracking

Assign a unique tracking code for each list you use in your mailing so that you can track results by list. Greater Public asks that you share your mailing results following each campaign so that we can monitor how lists are performing. Specific station results will be confidential, but will be included in aggregate results.

Projected Mail Date Month/Week

Greater Public must secure permission from various list owners to mail to your zip codes within your specific time frame. You MUST provide a 5 day date range to drop mail and you must mail your names within this timeframe. If you cannot mail during the approved time, you must contact Greater Public to arrange another approved 5 day range that falls within the approved period.

Calculating Costs

The average cost participating stations pay is 15-26 cents per name delivered ($150 – $260 per 1,000 names) PRIOR to merge/purge processing. Because of fixed costs for “unbundling” and segmenting lists into individual station zip ranges, the more lists used, the greater the fixed cost, which may increase the per name cost. For orders over 5,000 names, use 15-22 cents per name to calculate a “ballpark” figure which includes all ordering, sorting, and management fees. If you are ordering under 5,000 names, use 26 cents per name to estimate list costs.

In addition to the list cost, you should also budget for the costs of merge/purge processing, NCOA updates, printing, and postage fees associated with the mailing itself. Remember that you will purchase anywhere from 25-40% MORE names than you will mail to – budget accordingly. For more accurate estimated costs specific to the qty you want to order, please contact Donna Han at 703-850-0541 or

Minimum/Maximum Names to Order

When determining the number of names to order, be sure to consider your budget (how many pieces can you afford to drop) as well as the rate of duplication between lists (duplication rates vary from station to station but usually range from 25 – 40%).

  • If you want to mail 20,000 pieces, you may have to order 30,000 – 45,000 names.
  • You don’t want to acquire more names than you can mail to during the approved mail dates.
  • If your budget is limited, choose the highest performing lists for your format type first.
  • Remember in developing your budget that your quantity when figuring per name costs will be higher than the quantity that you use to calculate the printing and postage costs after merge/purge processing.

Overlap Situations

Occasionally the list co-op encounters two or more stations that want to order names from the same list for the same zip codes. In overlap situations, we randomly divide the list and one station gets half the names and the other station gets the other half. Because Greater Public incurs additional costs due to additional processing work, each station will be charged a flat $10 fee for each list that is split. To avoid “split list” fees, stations in overlap markets can work through issues regarding “who should get which list when”.

Deadline for Receiving Names

Allow several weeks between your requested delivery date and your mail date to allow time for your mail house to conduct the merge/purge processing and prepare your mail the post office.

Merge Perge Processing

The names you purchase from the various lists will NOT have duplicate names removed. For example, you could receive the name John Smith, 123 Main St., Anytown, US, on two or more lists you rent. John could also be an active member in your database.

Your merge/purge processor or mail house is responsible for removing duplicate names. Make sure to merge/purge on more than an exact name match since John could be listed on various lists as John Smith, J.S. Smith, John & Mary Smith, Mr. & Mrs. John Smith etc. You don’t want to irritate your prospect or waste the printing and postage money to mail 4 identical pieces to the same person. However, you can plan to do multiple drops to names that appear on more than one list.

Over 50% of Greater Public’s co-op participants use Lorton Data merge/purge services. If you do not have a qualified merge/purge processor, contact Pam at Lorton Data to inquire about their services and fees or visit the Lorton Data website.

Preferred Media and Data Formats

Your Merge/Purge processor or mail house will have preferred formats for the delivery of names and for the format for data. Find out what those specifications are and indicate those on the order form.

  • Most common delivery media includes internet email and ftp site.
  • Common data formats are CSV, ASCii, and Tab delimited.

Target Analysis Prospect List

Target Analysis Group has developed a national cooperative database exclusively for non-profit fundraising. The list contains more than 61 million households in the US with confirmed evidence of charitable giving. Target offers a discount when you order through the co-op. The rate is normally $85/M with a $500 minimum fee. Co-op members are charged only $65/M and the minimum fee is waived. To use the Target Analysis List, stations must register separately with Target Analysis and must provide a copy of their active member data file to Target which is used to compile their model.

List Selection

Each station will receive counts for each list we are ordering.

Before delivering counts to stations, Greater Public will highlight which lists are highly recommended, recommended, recommended with qualifications, or not recommended for your market/format, based on previous performance.

Once Greater Public delivers the list counts for your zip code range, you can select the lists and quantities you want to order form each list.

On occasion, a particular list will not be available, or we may not have enough co-op members who selected that list to meet minimum qualifying amounts. If you have indicated that the Greater Public Co-Op Manager can substitute a replacement list, your counts should stay roughly the same. If a list is not available and no substitutions are allowed, your quantities will be lower.

Greater Public routinely orders names from lists such as:

American Association of University Women
Amnesty International
Atlantic Monthly
Brady Camp to Prevent Gun Violence Common Cause
Earthjustice Donors
Environmental Defense Fund
Habitat for Humanity
Harper’s Magazine
League of Women Voters
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Mother Jones
Ms. Magazine
National Geographic Traveler
National Organization for Women
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nature Conservancy
New Republic magazine
New York Review of Books
New Yorker
People for the American Way
Planned Parenthood
Public Citizen (Ralph Nader organization)
Smithsonian Magazine
Southern Poverty Law Center
Target Analysis Acq List
The Nation
Utne Reader
Washington Spectator
Wilderness Society
World Wildlife Fund


To sign up to participate in the upcoming Acquisition List Co-Op buy, fill out the online form. By submitting the form, you are agreeing to the terms outlined in the form and on this page.


Don’t hesitate to contact the Greater Public’s Co-Op Manager if you have questions or would like more information.

Donna Han

Greater Public Direct Mail Services

(703) 850-0541 (Eastern Time Zone)
Main contact for acquisition list questions