FOR: FSC MEMBERS AND FRIENDS
SUBJECT: Legislation Before Congress Affecting Fundraising/Nonprofit
DATE: APRIL 17, 2001
take time right now to put the attached letter (or a similar
version) on your organizations stationery and send it to your
representative and other Congressional contacts in Washington.
is needed for important federal legislation, H.R. 1169, that
will allow nonprofit organizations to continue to use the special
nonprofit postage rates to mail fundraising letters. H.R. 1169
is designed to prevent the Postal Service from applying commercial
postage rates to nonprofit fundraising letters under the Cooperative
Mailing Rule. Already, the Postal Service is in the process of issuing
postage deficiency assessments in the millions of dollars against
various organizations that mailed fundraising letters at the nonprofit
postage rates. Nonprofits and their fundraising agencies stand
to lose millions of dollars if this legislation is not passed.
Postal Service has recently taken the position that nonprofit postage
rates are not available to fundraising letters if the nonprofit
organization does not shoulder 100 percent of the risk of the mailing.
In one instance, the Postal Service issued a postage deficiency
of $3.8 million against a fundraiser who is required by state
solicitation laws to bear some of the risk and contractually guaranty
that a certain percentage of fundraising proceeds go to the nonprofit
Postal Service is also attempting to assess postage deficiencies
against a number of other fundraising arrangements, including no-risk
contracts, and has revoked the nonprofit postage permit of at least
one nonprofit because of certain contractual terms contained in
its lease with the City of San Diego.
Postal Service has made it clear that it intends to go after nonprofits
and fundraisers with similar arrangements, and unless this legislation
is enacted, much of the nonprofit community is at risk of losing
the ability to mail fundraising letters at nonprofit rates.
1169 will clarify that the nonprofit postage rates apply to fundraising
letters regardless of the terms of contracts between nonprofit organizations
and fundraisers, as long as the fundraising letters themselves would
otherwise be eligible for the nonprofit rates. Thus, for example,
the legislation will allow continued use of the special nonprofit
rates even if state laws mandate contractual arrangements regarding
risk of loss between nonprofits and their fundraisers that violate
Postal Service policy preferences.
already have the support of some key members of Congress who have
introduced the bill, including Congressman Dan Burton, Chairman
of the House Committee on Government Reform that will consider the
bill, Congressman Filner (D-CA), and Congressman Ehrlich (R-MD).
But we need as many co-sponsors and supporters as possible.
you are a nonprofit organization, please send the attached letter
to your Congressman today and ask your fundraising agency to do
the same. If you are a fundraising agency, send the letter as suggested
and ask all of your clients and vendors to do the same.
act now on this important legislation! The House Committee on
Government Reform, through which the bill will be marked up, needs
to know within the next two weeks that the bill has widespread support.
The initial three co-sponsors of the bill need more co-sponsors.