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DMA Nonprofit Federation Says USPS Co-op Mail Rule Decision Expands Pool of Charitable Donors
NEW YORK, October 9, 2003 –The Direct Marketing Association’s Nonprofit Federation (DMANF) today voiced support for the decision by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to enable nonprofit organizations to partner with professional fundraisers. This decision will allow nonprofits to grow the potential pool of charitable donors at a time when the general economy is still faltering and public resources are being necessarily diverted to other priorities.
DMANF will be releasing guidance to its members and the larger nonprofit community, and plans to offer training and education to nonprofit organizations regarding this significant change. The DMANF also supports the Postal Service's offer to assist in the education of nonprofits and its willingness to regularly review the rulemaking to guard against potential abuses.
"Just like other enterprises, nonprofit organizations should be able to negotiate the best deal they can in the marketplace, and that is especially true in today's economic climate," said Senny Boone, executive director, DMANF. "Today's decision will help all charities, but especially emerging and small ones, find and retain donors. This is good for the charities and good for the causes that they support," said Boone.
The Postal Service decided today, "…to embark upon this rulemaking with the understanding that it represented the consensus of parties with an interest in nonprofit issues, including bipartisan Congressional support, representatives of both nonprofit organizations and professional fundraisers, and the Postal Service; that it was needed to assist nonprofit organizations in obtaining support necessary to fund their programs; and that this result could be accomplished more quickly administratively than legislatively."
In addition the USPS rule states that effective November 13, 2003, the Postal Service will no longer apply the cooperative mail rule only to mailings made by an organization authorized to mail at the nonprofit rate soliciting monetary donations for the mailer. This exception applies only where the organization on whose behalf the mailing is sent is given a list of each donor, contact information (e.g., address, telephone number) for each, and the amount of the donation made by each donor.
The rule change also eliminates a conflict between postal regulations and a number of state donor protection laws.
Today's decision will enable a nonprofit permit holder to mail its own fundraising material under arrangements that permit the nonprofit to share the risk for a failed campaign with third party vendors. Previously, these types of arrangements were prohibited by the Postal Service.
"These new partnerships will be scrutinized by regulators at the state and federal level and also by umbrella organizations such as the Federation. In addition, the Federation will vigorously promote an educational program, which is designed to enable nonprofits to avoid unfair treatment at the hands of their vendors," said Boone.
The DMANF will leverage its expertise on state donor protection laws and the decades-old experience of its parent, The DMA, to craft educational programs that will help nonprofits avoid the pitfalls of unfavorable partnerships with third party vendors. These efforts will balance the need of charities to grow with the need to provide appropriate assurances that the sector uses the preferred nonprofit mail rate for the purposes for which it was intended.
About The DMA Nonprofit Federation:
Since 1982, The DMA Nonprofit Federation (DMANF) and its predecessor organizations have been aggressive and effective advocates for nonprofits in postal, regulatory, legislative, and accountability issues. It has led the way in professional education, networking, and industry advancement. With more than 300 members, The DMANF is one of the largest member segments of the Direct Marketing Association and is the leading association for member organizations that use direct and interactive marketing media such as mail, telephone, and the Internet to communicate with donors, members, customers, and the public. The DMANF's full-time staff, located in Washington, DC, is assisted by legal counsel for regulatory and postal matters, and is supported by the resources and professional staff of The DMA. See www.nonprofitfederation.org for more information.
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States are projected to have surpassed $2 trillion in 2002, including $126 billion in catalog sales and $34 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web site iswww.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.