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Charities May Receive Small, Temporary Break on Certain Postage Rates

(June 4, 2007) The Postal Regulatory Commission has recommended that certain nonprofit rates be reduced for four months until the significant postage increases for standard mail flats come into effect in September.

In recommending the temporary reductions, the commission essentially refused to change or eliminate the increases that will increase rates for standard mail flats by 100 to 400 percent, despite intense opposition from the charitable sector. Instead, the commission opted for what it termed a “transition time” for charities and customers to prepare for the increases.

The commission recommended a rate reduction of 3 cents for all standard mail regular flats and 2 cents for standard regular nonprofit flats. However, the board of governors of the United States Postal Service is under no requirement to accept the recommendations. The board is expected to make a decision on the recommendations shortly.

Some organizations in the sector, including the Direct Marketing Association, are pushing the USPS board of governors to keep the recommended rate reductions in place until the next postal rate change, which will likely be in mid-2008. AFP members are encouraged to use the following sample letter and send communications to the governors, urging them to keep the rate reductions and wait to implement the increases until next year.

What To Do

Members should not only ask the USPS board of governors to approve and extend the rate relief for standard mail flats, but also emphasize that these changes can be made without affecting the rate for other classes of mail. A similar letter to the postmaster general should also be sent.

Using the sample letter below, writing and faxing the two letters should take no more than 20 minutes.

Fax your letters to:

The Honorable James C. Miller III, Chairman, Board of Governors, United States Postal Service, Fax: 202-268-5472

The Honorable John E. Potter, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer, United States Postal Service, Fax: 202-268-4860

Sample Letter

The Honorable James C. Miller III

Chairman, Board of Governors

United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 10300

Washington, DC 20260-1000

Dear Chairman Miller:

I am writing to you today to request that the postal governors accept the Postal Regulatory Commission’s Second Opinion and Recommended Decision on Reconsideration of increases for standard flat mail. However, I urge you to make permanent the 3-cent reduction for standard mail regular flats and the 2-cent reduction for standard regular nonprofit flats.

Unfortunately, the PRC chose to recommend only a temporary reduction in the outrageous and exorbitant rate increases it originally recommended in February—rates that were far higher than [ORGANIZATION NAME] and the rest of the mailing community had anticipated or prepared for.

Under the PRC’s revised recommendation, the temporary relief offered would extend, at the latest, through Sept. 29, 2007. We desperately need these rates to remain in effect until the next rate change is implemented under the new rules, likely in mid-2008.

Raising rates in September will make it extremely difficult for my charity as we head into the busy holiday mailing season, when we had planned to mail up to ___ pieces. Without extended rate relief, we will certainly be forced to cut those mailing levels dramatically. [ADD SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON YOUR MAILING VOLUMES, IF POSSIBLE]

As an organization that relies in large part on the success of our mailings, I ask you to act quickly to bring about real and lasting rate relief. It is my sincere belief that if allowed to stand, these rate increases will negatively impact my charity and its ability to provide critically needed programs to the community.


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