On July 31, the Postal Service filed a request at the Postal Regulatory Commission to change the methodology by which nonprofit rates are set. It relates to the legal requirement that nonprofit marketing mail revenue per piece must equal, as closely as practicable, 60 percent of commercial mail’s. Since the postal law change of 2006 (PAEA) eliminated sub-classes of mail, USPS has been calculating its compliance at the class level, meaning all of marketing mail. It now believes that changes in mail mix, such as letters versus flats and carrier route versus non-carrier route, have led to larger rate increases for commercial than nonprofit mail.
To read the filing, click here.
USPS hopes to rush this change through in time for its October filing for new January 2018 rates. As a reminder, they propose to change rates based on approval by one postal governor last December. There are no governors now.
If the change is approved by the PRC, we can expect nonprofit marketing mail rates to go up more than commercial in January. It would result in rate increases of 3.3 to 6.9 percent over and above other increases for nonprofit marketing mail. USPS says it would spread these over more than one rate change to reduce “rate shock.”
The Alliance is reviewing the proposal and our board will decide what action to take in relation to this move by USPS.
The threat of larger nonprofit rate increases comes on the heels of out-sized increases for some nonprofit periodicals in 2015, and large increases for nonprofit drop-shipped marketing letters this year. All of these threaten to hasten already declining mail volumes for America’s nonprofits and charities.