The United States Postal Service issued an Industry Alert to let its customers know that it will take no action to change its rules about including merchandise in Marketing Mail.
USPS started the process to consider changes on August 23, 2018 with this Federal Register Notice. In the FRN, the Postal Service said:
The Postal Service is contemplating amendment of the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®), to revise content standards for USPS Marketing Mail® letter-size and flat-size pieces regardless of level of sortation. This proposed change would limit all USPS Marketing Mail, regular and nonprofit, letter-size and flat-size, to content that is only paper-based/printed matter; no merchandise or goods will be allowed of any type regardless of “value.” All items not eligible to be sent as USPS Marketing Mail letter-size or flat-size pieces would need to shift to another product (e.g., Priority Mail®, Parcel Select®) to be mailed. In an effort to obtain as much customer and mailer feedback as possible, the Postal Service will post this advance notice of proposed rulemaking for an extended comment period.
The initial USPS proposal would have negatively affected any nonprofit that mails front-end or back-end premiums for fundraising or membership. The potential rule change could have effectively banned any and all merchandise or goods from all Nonprofit Marketing Mail (formerly called Standard Mail).
NCDC, along with our partners in the nonprofit sector, responded to the changes under consideration by alerting the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) of dozens of examples of premiums used by Catholic nonprofits in their direct mail appeals.
Many thanks to all who participated in the comment process, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, and the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee Task Team, especially Jeff Kortz of Sacred Heart League and Southern Missions, who represents NCDC at MTAC.
It now is safe for nonprofit mailers to continue mailing merchandise in Marketing Mail, following almost 7-1/2 months of USPS deliberation.