As you may know, the USPS is considering an amendment that will dramatically increase postage costs for any
thing except letter-size and flat sized paper / printed matter. No merchandise, regardless of value, will be able to be mailed at today’s nonprofit rates.
These rate increases would apply to every form of front-end and back-end premiums, including address labels, notepads, pens, membership cards, newsletters, religious items, and calendars — to name a few. The impact of these rate increases will mean that postal costs for many mailings could increase by 150% or more. This will mean that many nonprofits will raise far less revenue — and many nonprofits will not survive nor be able to do their important work.
There are approximately 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States who collectively employ 10% of the U.S. workforce. The vast majority of these organizations are small nonprofits. They don’t have the means to be on television, hire high-profile PR agencies or celebrity spokesman to build their brand and cause awareness. And often they find that online fundraising and social media efforts do not provide necessary funds to sustain their operations. For thousands and thousands of these nonprofits, direct mail fundraising that leverage premiums, are the only proven and effective method for gaining attention and support. To suddenly change the rules on them would be unfair and short-sighted.
I can tell you that we have already heard that these proposed changes will reduce or eliminate educational programs for underprivileged children… devastate programs that feed the hungry… negatively impact donations that support medical research… impact many faith-based organizations supporting the elderly and disaster relief… and possibly kill some efforts that support veterans.
The importance of direct mail and premiums cannot be understated. In 2013, The American Cancer Society eliminated direct mail from their acquisition efforts. After suffering massive losses, they went back to using direct mail 18 months later. From 2010-2016, Mothers Against Drunk Driving dramatically cut their mail program. Their active donor file declined by 61%. They have since stabilized their mail programs.
We Can’t Stand By And Let This USPS Rate Increase Go Forward.
There are questions about the legality of USPS’ proposed changes. Thankfully, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers is leading the charge on this front. We encourage you to support them in these efforts.
We also strongly encourage you to let the USPS know the impact these changes would have on your operation. The USPS is requesting comments on their proposal by October 22nd. We are recommending that you to submit your comments by this Friday, September 14th, indicating your strong belief that the proposal should be withdrawn.
To submit your comments, go to ProductClassification@USPS.gov and use the subject line “USPS Marketing Mail Content Eligibility.” Alternatively, you can mail your opposition to Manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015.
Your note should include…
- Your nonprofit’s mission and impact
- How the proposed rate changes could impact your mission and the livelihood of some of your staff
- Any negative impact the changes will have on USPS’ revenues by reducing your mail volumes
The organization NCDC put together a terrific letter template you also might consider using.
For the good of the causes we care deeply about, our communities, our country, and thousands of terrific nonprofits, please let the USPS know that their proposed changes should be NOT be approved. Thank you.