By James D’Ambrosio

As the East Coast and New England recover from the effects of Hurricane Irene this past weekend, a significant financial threat churns for nonprofits in Congress.

In an effort to stem the U.S. Postal Service’s financial losses — well into the billions — four separate bills in Congress are set to address the problem. One of those bills — Section 403 of H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act, sponsored by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) — carries a provision eliminating reduced mailing rates for nonprofits. Should it become law, it would result in a 35 percent increase in postal rates for nonprofits, significantly increasing direct-mail fund-raising costs and lowering the profit margin on such appeals. This would impact acquisition mailings the most, since it costs more to acquire new donors than tap existing ones.  


A fact sheet provided by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) notes that since 1951, rates for standard nonprofit mail have been legally set below corresponding commercial mail rates — law 39 U.S.C. 3626(a)(6)(A) provides a discount in average revenue per piece at 40 percent. H.R. 2309 would eliminate reduced rates for nonprofit mail by narrowing the difference in average revenue per piece by five (5) percentage points per year until the difference is just 10 percent.

With all due respect to the U.S. Postal Service’s efforts to rein in spiraling costs — which it should — saving on nonprofit mail is ill-advised and damaging. Many agencies are already experiencing significant economic hardship. Should this bill become law, it will negatively impact outreach efforts at the worst possible time. Further, many nonprofits have been created to provide services the government no longer provides. Squeezing them more makes no sense.        


Call, write, fax or e-mail members of Congress listed below, emphasizing the negative impact this legislation would have on your organization’s ability to fulfill its charitable mission. For maximum effect, keep your message brief, on target, and business-focused. Resist the temptation to politicize the issue — this makes it easier to dismiss opposition as Republican vs. Democrat or left vs. right. Focus on the NEGATIVE BUSINESS IMPACT.       


Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA): (202) 225-3906 | 2347 Rayburn House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515-0549  | Comment directly here: http://bit.ly/ehpvlM  (bill sponsor)

Members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

Congressman Dennis Ross (R-FL): (202) 225-1252  |  404 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515-0912 | Comment directly here: http://bit.ly/oGuTFk

Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI): (202) 225-3831  |  114 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515-2203  | Comment directly here: http://bit.ly/nPehHt

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH): (202) 225-2676  |  1524 Longworth House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515-3504  | Comment directly here: http://1.usa.gov/eLpacL

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT):  (202) 225-7751 |  1032 Longworth House Office Bldg., Washington DC 20515-4403  |  Comment directly here: http://bit.ly/nZVBv5

Congressman Connie Mack (R-FL):      (202) 225-2536  |  115 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515-0914  |  Comment directly here: http://1.usa.gov/r6v9x2

Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI):      (202) 225-6276  |  418 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515-2207  |  Comment directly here: http://bit.ly/nwNiQG

Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC):        (202) 225-6030  |  1237 Longworth House Office Bldg., Washington DC 20515-4004 | Comment directly here: http://bit.ly/mRMNw6


APPEAL TO READERS: Please promote this post and spread word of this vital issue. Congress will soon be back in session. Make your voice heard now!


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