*Nonprofits Must Monitor Postal Issues, Attorneys Say

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WASHINGTON -- Nonprofits must continually monitor postal and legal issues that affect how the groups operate, two speakers told the Direct Marketing Association's Nonprofit Federation yesterday.

The early morning session of the Critical Issues Conference was devoted to two topics: "Who's in Charge of Your Postal Issues?" led by attorney Robert S. Tigner, regulatory counsel for the DMA Nonprofit Federation; and "Litigation Affecting Nonprofits" led by attorney Geoffrey W. Peters, managing director at Creative Direct Marketing International and volunteer general counsel for American Charities for Reasonable Fundraising Regulation.

Tigner said the issue of nonprofit postal status eligibility has not been settled yet because the U.S. Postal Service keeps changing the rules -- both for the nonprofits and for the content of the mail. He advised nonprofits to consult manuals and to keep abreast of the situation by reading postal bulletins.

Tigner also suggested that nonprofits employ people specifically to be in charge of the mail and that the responsibilities be well-documented for future employees. At the same time, regular audits would ensure accountability, he said.

Peters reviewed various court cases, most importantly those involving the ability of local governments to regulate fundraising. Nonprofits prefer to deal with state governments, which have a much looser interpretation of managing nonprofits than local governments do. He indicated that local governments are mostly concerned with collecting money.

Peters said he would even prefer federal regulations to local regulations, which would prove costly and complicated. He made his own pitch for money to help the American Charities for Reasonable Fundraising Regulation to fight legal battles involving nonprofits.

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