More than 140 mailers and mailing organizations responded to a U.S. Postal Service proposed rule that the agency said seeks to clarify the differences between a personalized Standard Mail piece and a personal First-Class Mail piece.
The comment period closed Friday. As of press time Friday afternoon, the USPS said it had received 141 comments and that it was still collecting them. Most of the comments came from nonprofit mailers.
The rule proposal was published April 19. It calls for an exclusive-purpose test in which personal information would be permitted at Standard rates only when advertising or solicitation is the exclusive purpose of the piece and personal information is included solely to increase the effectiveness of the ad or solicitation.
Nonprofit mailers are especially concerned about the exclusive-purpose test because they generally send joint fundraising and educational mailings. The proposal would require them to send those mailings at First-Class rates instead of the preferred Nonprofit Standard Mail rate.
In its comments, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers said “in drafting this proposed rule, the USPS may have been unaware of the generally accepted accounting principles that govern the financial reporting required of nonprofit organizations.”
It also said that the alliance's member organizations rely upon mail to “raise funds and disseminate information — often in the same mail piece.
“Dual-purpose mailings of this kind are an effective way of economizing on postage and other fundraising expenses and reflect responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to nonprofit organizations by their donors,” the comments read.
The alliance's comments also offer minor modifications to the USPS proposal that would protect nonprofits while maintaining the financial integrity of the USPS.
The Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation also offered comments and said it is concerned that this “new rule places nonprofit organizations using personalization in the untenable position of stripping out educational and charitable messages in their mail pieces in favor of a pure solicitation for a donation.” It also suggests minor modifications.