Alliance Alert — Letter to Hill

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                                  The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

Speaker                                                                                        Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives                                                U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC  20215                                                            Washington, DC  20215


The Honorable Mitch McConnell                                            The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Majority Leader                                                                          Minority Leader

U.S. Senate                                                                                   U.S. Senate

Washington, DC  20210                                                            Washington, DC  20210


April 30, 2020

Dear Congressional Leaders:

The whole country is aware that you are considering options to help the financially-strapped United States Postal Service.  That’s because the USPS is an essential service to our Nation that many appreciate even more during the crisis we are experiencing.

Likewise, nonprofit organizations are essential to our Nation’s health, safety, and livelihood.  The outpouring of support and recognition for nonprofits occurring now during the pandemic is the latest example of the vital roles we play in our society and economy.  Nonprofits account for roughly one in ten jobs in the U.S. private workforce, with total employees numbering 12.3 million.

The nonprofit sector relies heavily on our postal system to achieve our vital missions.  Indeed, the USPS is essential to the ongoing service of nonprofits.  In recent years, Americans have been donating over $400 billion to nonprofits, and as much as half of this support is prompted by mail and delivered to us directly by the USPS.

Nonprofits also mail some of our Nation’s iconic magazines: AARP, New England Journal of Medicine, Rural Electric Cooperative state magazines, Consumer Reports, Guideposts, Our Sunday Visitor, DAV Magazine, and Ranger Rick.

We urge that solutions to the problems faced by the Postal Service enable nonprofits to continue to deliver on our critical missions. The most important policy to keep nonprofits in the mail, in addition to USPS continuity, is the Consumer Price Index inflation cap on postage increases. The CPI cap is specifically required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006.  Please ensure that the USPS and the Postal Regulatory Commission continue to adhere to the Congressionally-mandated price cap.

Nonprofits provided one in ten pieces of all USPS mail prior to the pandemic.  That percentage likely has risen as nonprofits are continuing to connect with their members, donors, and subscribers through the mail.  And we fulfilling our vital missions to help our Nation through this crisis.

Perhaps the best way to emphasize the importance of affordable, reliable mail to nonprofits is to quote just a few of the dozens of letters and declarations posted on the website of the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Today, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of death among those age 65 and older. We receive tens of millions of dollars annually–which directly support our mission–via gifts received through the mail.
  • Christian Appalachian Project: Direct Mail is literally the fiscal lifeblood of this organization and has been for over 55 years. A postage increase will mean we are unable to provide the current level of services, desperately needed in this region. We are “Large Volume Mailers”, mailing around 22,000,000 pieces of mail annually. You will understand how even a cent or two at this volume makes a huge difference in the services we are able to offer people living in desperate need…We are doing everything we possibly can to keep costs at a minimum so that we can serve people in desperate need here in the Appalachian region. We need your help and the help of the Postal Regulatory Commission. We simply cannot afford postage increases over the Consumer Price lndex.
  • Society of the Little Flower: The mission of the Society of the Little Flower is to promote devotion to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Donations enable the Carmelites (a Catholic order of priests and brothers) throughout the world to make a difference in people’s lives through their ministries and in the education of seminarians. As a nonprofit mailer, our organization sends out over 6.6 million pieces of mail per year to secure the donations needed to help in many areas of our ministries to supply food, water, medicine, shelter, education and more to the poorest of the poor in over 50 countries around the world
  • Special Olympics: As a nonprofit mailer, direct mail is a critical component of our fundraising program, which allows us to generate unrestricted funds for the organization so that we can provide sports training and provide important and essential health screenings for our athletes. Last year, over 80% of the money raised for Special Olympics was done through our direct mail program. In fact, our direct mail program is the largest program in which we bring in funds into our organization.
  • FeedMore WNY: Today, we rely heavily on direct mail for the majority of our fundraising efforts. More than 90% of every donation goes directly to programs and services, and a reduction in direct mail revenue would result in a reduction in the programs and services we can provide to the community.
  • American Red Cross: Direct mail is a crucial mode of communication that generates a significant portion of revenues for the Red Cross and is one of the most effective channels through which our organization reaches supporters.
  • Disabled American Veterans: Use of direct mail – primarily nonprofit outgoing and first class return mail – is vital to our organization’s ability to disseminate information, raise funds, and fulfill its charitable purpose. Direct mail generates more than 80 percent of DAV’s annual donations and more than 80 percent of its membership dues.
  • Visiting Nurse Service of New York: For more than 125 years, VNSNY has been providing healthcare services to some of New York’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations. Each year VNSNY provides tens of millions of dollars in charitable care and community benefit programs. These wide-ranging programs improve the lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, young and old, and deliver free and discounted home and community-based healthcare services to thousands of under- and uninsured individuals. To provide this care, VNSNY has to raise money throughout the year. We rely heavily on donations that we elicit through the mail…Last year we raised over $6 million for charitable programs, approximately 65% of which came as a result of fundraising requests received in the mail.
  • American Lung Association: Switching to alternative solicitation channels would reduce our public outreach because ALA’s donor base skews demographically toward the elderly, many of whom do not use email. Many of those in our donor base who do have an email address are unwilling to donate online with a credit card.  In contrast, direct mail puts information directly into the hands of our supporters and allows them to maintain it for future reference. Our fundraising would suffer and limit the critical programs we offer to the public, to clean up the air we breathe and improve the health of all Americans, which ultimately harms our society.
  • Consumer Reports: About 50 percent of CR’s overall revenue comes from the mail, which drives about 85 percent of our fundraising revenue. The income derived from paid memberships and donor contributions funds the mission-critical work that CR performs on behalf of consumers everywhere. Since its founding in 1936, CR remains a captive Postal Service customer for delivery of 50.8M Periodicals, 86.6M pieces of acquisition and retention Marketing Mail, and more than 8.4M pieces of First Class Mail, costing more than $25.5M in 2019. No other vendor competes with the Postal Service to win our business.
  • National Wildlife Federation: Mail plays a vital role in NWF’s mission. We rely on direct mail to raise money and awareness. NWF mails 48,000,000 pieces of direct mail annually, mostly at nonprofit Standard Mail rates, totaling $6,259,000 annually. We circulate our publications, Ranger Rick®, Ranger Rick Jr., Cub, National Wildlife Catalog and National Wildlife Magazine at Periodicals Mail rates. We also typically generate several pieces of First-Class Mail in response to each donation received.
  • Mail is vital to Guideposts‘ mission of reaching people of faith and giving them strength to meet life’s obstacles. Guideposts mails over 75,000,000 pieces of mail on an annual basis, totaling over $17,000,000 in postage. The majority of this volume is at Standard non-profit rates. Guideposts also generates First class mail, business reply mail and Bound Printed Matter mail and we have two Periodical magazines. We are a large-volume mailer, and rely on the Postal Service for a significant portion of our charitable operations. During FY 2019, 37 percent of Guideposts’ income was generated by direct mail fundraising, and mailing of complimentary publications accounted for a large portion of Guideposts’ expenses.
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: As not-for-profit, consumer-owned and consumer-governed organizations, electric cooperatives utilize mail for many reasons, including distributing cooperative magazines to member-consumers in 42 states and sending bills to members using First-Class Mail. The magazines are read by approximately 36 million people. Cooperative mailings, including the magazines and bill inserts, provide members with critical information about their cooperatives, including their cooperatives’ financial condition, how they can participate in electing cooperative directors to represent them on the cooperatives’ boards of directors, and how they can participate in cooperative meetings. Those mailings also include information that can help consumers use energy more wisely, participate in cooperative energy management programs, and otherwise save money on their electric service.
  • Wounded Warrior Project does not receive any public funding and we rely instead on the generosity of a grateful Nation – generosity often solicited through direct mail. Fewer solicitations to existing and potential donors lowers our ability to raise funds, and fewer funds reduces our spending on our life-changing programs, advocacy, and investments in other organizations that are bringing positive change to the communities we collectively serve.
  • Michigan Electric Cooperative Association: Cooperative mailings, including monthly electric bills, provide members with critical information about their co-op, including its financial condition, how to participate in electing directors to the governing board, and how to participate in co-op meetings. Mailings also include information that can help consumers use energy more wisely and save money on their electric service. MECA also publishes and mails Michigan Country Lines magazine monthly for its member-cooperatives.  The magazine is an important communication tool for the co-ops that includes many required legal notices.  With a monthly circulation of more than 270,000, postal costs are significant.
  • Golden State Power Cooperative: As not-for-profit, consumer-owned and consumer-governed organizations, electric cooperatives utilize mail for many reasons, including distributing cooperative magazines to member-consumers and sending bills to members using First-Class Mail. Cooperative mailings, including the magazines and bill inserts, provide members with critical information about their cooperatives, including their cooperatives’ financial condition, how they can participate in electing cooperative directors to represent them on the cooperatives’ boards of directors, and how they can participate in cooperative meetings. Those mailings also include information that can help consumers use energy more wisely, participate in cooperative energy management programs, and otherwise save money on their electric service.
  • The Idaho Foodbank serves over 201,000 people monthly through more than 400 agency partners in 44 counties throughout the state of Idaho. In its 35 year history The Idaho Food bank has distributed 221 million pounds; food for nearly 184 million meals that went directly to individuals struggling to cover basic needs. With only 6% of funding coming from federally subsidized programs, The Idaho Food bank relies heavily on private donations. None of the above would be possible without our generous donors and engaging them through direct mail is crucial. As such in FY 2019 we mailed over 515,000 appeals which raised over $1.5 million in donations.
  • Franciscan Mission Associates: As an organization, we count on the Postal Service to help us communicate with our donors and receive support for our mission of providing food, shelter, education, care of the elderly in serving the less fortunate people where we serve here in the States, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and other parts of the world.
  • Mercy Home for Boys and Girls: Direct mail has always been a crucial component of Mercy Home’s fundraising budget, generating about 45% of our overall revenue each year. ln our fiscal year 2O2O, we anticipate spending $52,708,760 in outgoing postage (at nonprofit and first-class rates) and incoming first class postage.
  • Arthritis Foundation: As a nonprofit, we rely on mail for the majority of our fundraising. But we operate on a limited, fixed fundraising budget each year so when postage goes up we are forced to reduce our mailings. These reductions have a direct impact on our revenue limiting our ability to spend money on critical research and ultimately affecting our mission. Cost efficient postage is our organization.
  • Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives: Electric cooperatives and their members would be particularly affected by such a sharp increase in rates because, as has been widely documented, rural America in general is egregiously under-covered by broadband service; wide swaths of real estate in rural Ohio —and rural areas across the country, for that matter —have no access to internet service. Even if the internet provided a reliable and accepted option for electric cooperatives to get those vital communications to their members —which it certainly does not —the lack of broadband service in rural areas makes the matter moot. Electric cooperatives, because of who they serve, would literally be unable to communicate with their members if they were not able to utilize the service provided by the US.
  • New England Journal of Medicine: Any expense, such as postage, that exceeds our means will result in necessary reductions in our use of mail. Such a reduction will lead to less revenue, will limit our reach, and will reduce the amount the organization can spend on the dissemination of leading-edge medical research and valuable clinical content.
  • 21 Military and Veterans Service Organizations: Senior leaders in the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs have consistently recognized the need for support organizations to augment the work of their respective departments. Public resources are not limitless. Our organizations exist because the government simply does not have the capacity to provide the kinds of programs, services and advocacy we provide to deliver and promote the physical, mental and financial health and wellness that too many in the military and veteran community struggle to achieve. We collectively rely on market dominant mail products to raise funds that help fuel our programs, recruit new members to sustain our missions, and keep our communities informed about veteran and military issues that affect them.

We urge you to ensure that our Nation’s nonprofit organizations can continue to deliver their vital missions through affordable, reliable postal mail.  Please keep in mind the reliance of nonprofits on mail as you fashion solutions to the USPS financial problems.


Stephen M. Kearney

Executive Director

Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers

1211 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 610

Washington, DC 20036


Cc:      The Honorable Carolyn Maloney

The Honorable Jim Jordan

The Honorable Ron Johnson

The Honorable Gary Peters