Nonprofit Standard Mail Postal Rate To Drop

October 21, 2011       Samuel Fanburg      

Postage rates are going up for nonprofit mail on average 2.1 percent but some categories will see a decrease. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has petitioned the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for the increase beginning Jan. 22, 2012.

The increase will affect nonprofit mailing products such as standard mail letters nonprofit, standard mail flats nonprofit, standard mail non-flat machinables and library mail retail.

Based on the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), the USPS can boost rates but the increase cannot exceed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) based on the inflation rate. Because the CPI is at 2.133 percent for October 2011, the USPS applied for the 2.1 percent increase. Rates for individual products and services will vary, with many increasing in price and standard mail letters decreasing.

David Partenheimer, a spokesperson for the USPS in Washington, D.C., believed the increase was modest, and did not feel it would hinder nonprofits’ mailing programs. “We are only allowed to increase mailing services based on the CPI," said Partenheimer. "Now the petition will go through a 45-day review period which is customary.”

The following is what nonprofits currently pay to ship packages, and what they will pay as off January 22nd 2012:

* Standard mail nonprofit letters is now 16.8 cents and goes down to 16.6;

* Standard mail nonprofit flats are now 35.5 cents and will go to 35.6 cents;

* Standard mail nonprofit machinables is now 1.46 cents and goes up to 1.476 cents;

* Library mail media is now $1.20 and goes to $1.22; and,

* Periodicals (including magazines and newspapers) are currently 19.6 cents, and will increase to 20 cents.

Anthony Conway, executive director for the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers in Washington D.C., said the increases were nothing to “squawk” about and that the increase was something that could be “predicted.”

“The changes reflect the CPI for October, so the USPS has every right to increase mailing service charges,” said Conway. “Nonprofits are now prepared to deal with these increases as they can be predicted based on where the CPI is. This is not bad compared to other increases and at least they are not trying for an exigent increase again.”

An “exigent increase,” is an increase in mailing services that goes beyond the current CPI. In July of 2010, the USPS tried to pass a 5.6 percent increase due to “exceptional circumstances.” The PRC ended up denying the request. The last time rates increased across the board was April 13th 2011, when the USPS passed a 1.7 percent increase.