Nonprofit mail dropped during 2014-15 exigent surcharge

February 17, 2016

This chart shows Nonprofit Standard Mail volumes for the last ten years, Fiscal Years 2006-2015. There are three distinct phases.

NP Mail vol


  • The first three years, FY 2006-2008, show an average of 14.738 billion pieces with an increasing trend.
  • As the impact of the 2007-2009 recession took hold, nonprofits adjusted to a “new normal” of 13.339 billion pieces on average for the next five years, FY 2009-2013, a decline of 9.5 percent.
  • Four months into FY 2014, the exigent surcharge hit mailers with 4.3 percentage points above the inflation-based rate increase, dropping the average volume for the latest two years, FY 2014-2015, to 12.707 billion pieces. The decline from averaging 13.339 billion to 12.707 billion was 4.7 percent, very close to the 4.3 percent exigent surcharge.


Charitable giving rebounded in 2014, led by individuals

Nonprofit Standard Mail is the lifeblood of our nation’s charities that perform so many critically important services. It is how many nonprofits raise the majority of their funding. And the amount of charitable giving in the U.S. is staggering.

One can see in the chart below that charitable giving took a dip in calendar years 2008 and 2009, but recovered to a new high of over $358 billion in 2014. Of the total, individual giving was $258 billion, much of it prompted by mailed appeals, invitations, and publications, and paid via First Class Mail. According to Giving USA, individual giving made the “greatest impact:” “The 5.7 percent more that individuals donated in 2014 over 2013 accounted for 58 percent of last year’s total growth in giving.”

charitable giving - Copy

When Nonprofit Standard is combined with the First Class Mail pieces that it generates and the Periodicals that many nonprofits mail, it is clear that more than one in ten pieces of mail delivered in the U.S. is attributable to a nonprofit. Many Americans love the nonprofit causes they support and the charitable mail that they receive. No other type of mail prompts the degree of altruism and goodwill that nonprofit mail engenders.

Time will tell whether nonprofit mailing will rebound after the exigent surcharge is removed in April 2016. Many Alliance members believe it will, as nonprofit fundraising is very data-driven and dependent on a return on investment. Some members have told us that they are holding money budgeted for mailings in anticipation of increasing mail following the return of postage to the general inflationary level.