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Customer Support Ruling


Donation Solicitation
Revised June 2005

PS-262 (243.2.2)

This Customer Support Ruling will discuss whether “personal information” present in the mailpiece of an organization authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates causes the piece to be ineligible for Standard Mail rates.

An organization that is authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates submitted a mailpiece  that contains a field that is completed by computer to show the total amount of donations for the previous year with a request to “consider making a donation meeting or exceeding the amount contributed last year.”

Mailpieces containing personal information must be entered at First-Class Mail rates unless they are eligible for Standard Mail or Package Services rates under the provisions of Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 243.2* or DMM 453.2*.  DMM 243.2.2* provides that personal information may not be included in a Standard Mail mailpiece unless three conditions are met: the mailpiece contains explicit advertising for a product or service for sale or lease or an explicit solicitation for a donation; all of the personal information is directly related to the advertising or solicitation; and the exclusive reason for inclusion of all of the personal information is to support the advertising or solicitation in the mailpiece.

A review of the mailpiece indicates that it contains personal information; i.e. the amount of the previous year’s donation. In addition, the first two conditions in section 243.2.2 are met; i.e. the request to consider making a donation meeting or exceeding the amount contributed last year is an explicit solicitation for a donation and the personal information (the previous year’s donation) is directly related to that solicitation.  The final step is to consider whether there was any purpose for including the personal information other than to support the advertising. Nothing in the mailpiece indicates the personal information is included for any purpose other than to support or to encourage the addressee to make an additional donation to the nonprofit organization. Therefore, it is concluded that all of the information in the mailpiece appears to have been provided solely for the purpose of enhancing the solicitation.

Based on the above, the mailing was determined to be eligible for the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates.

*See also DMM 343.2, 443.2, 363.2, 373.2, 383.2, 463.2, 473.2, and 483.2.

Sherry Suggs
Mailing Standards
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436