December 11, 2018
Ironic, isn’t it? Hard on the heels of the Administration’s Task Force report, the Postal Service is forming a Task Team. Its goal is more modest, but extremely important to many nonprofit mailers who mail merchandise as critical components of membership and fundraising. The Team will be tasked to read all the comments it received from customers about possibly banning all merchandise or goods from Marketing Mail.
The Postal Service wants to emphasize that so far it is only contemplating, not proposing, any changes to current rules. The Task Team will be comprised of mailers, mail service providers and postal employees. They are expected to use the month of January to read all the comments and formulate recommendations about which types of mail and merchandise, if any, should be forced out of Marketing Mail.
The Postal Service essentially promised us that it will clarify which types of mail would be at risk, and which would be in the clear, by the end of January. Then more work would be needed to formulate actual rules to propose to the USPS Governors. If the Governors agree and approve, USPS would move from contemplation to proposal. And any proposal would then go to the Postal Regulatory Commission for approval.
Some of our members are already submitting postage budgets for 2020, the first year USPS said the contemplated but not yet proposed merchandise ban would take effect. We hope that by the end of January nonprofits will have some certainty about the future of nonprofit Marketing Mail. In the meantime, we would advise no major changes in mailing plans based on the August Federal Register Notice which said:
This proposed change would limit all USPS Marketing Mail, regular and nonprofit, letter-size and flat-size, to content that is only paper-based/printed matter; no merchandise or goods will be allowed of any type regardless of “value.”
Remember, it’s not a proposal yet!