Questions and Answers: Content-Based
Q. May our authorized organization mail material at the Nonprofit Standard Mail
rates if it includes an advertisement for our periodical publication?
A. Yes, if the advertised periodical publication meets one or more of these
- The advertised publication is currently authorized to be mailed at
Periodicals postage rates; or, it would qualify for Periodicals rates, if
the organization applied.
- The publication is substantially related to your organization's
- The advertisement for the publication appears in a mailpiece that
meets the content requirements for a periodical publication.
Q. Are advertisements in material that meets the "content requirements for a
periodical publication" required to be substantially related to the authorized
A. No. The rules exempt advertisements from the need to be substantially
related to the organization's purposes if the advertisements are printed
in material that meets the content requirements for a periodical
publication, as prescribed by the USPS. However, advertisements for
credit cards are always prohibited and advertisements for insurance
policies and travel arrangements are permitted only under restricted
Q. May my authorized organization acknowledge contributors, donors, and
sponsors in material mailed at the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates?
A. Yes. The rules permit such acknowledgements to include the name of
the sponsor, donor, or contributor and any official company logo, as
long as no advertising is associated with the acknowledgment.
However, if the acknowledgment includes other information concerning
the sponsor - e.g., a description of the sponsor's products or the
sponsor's phone number - the acknowledgment is subject to the
applicable advertising restrictions.
Q. Are the exceptions to the rules against mailing advertisements for products
and services at the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates different from the
exceptions to the rules against mailing products at these rates?
A. Yes. The law establishes different rules for each. For example, although
it might be important under the advertising restrictions whether the
advertised product is substantially related to the authorized
organization's purposes, the product restrictions do not contain a
Q. If my authorized organization advertises low-cost products in material that
does not meet the content requirements for a periodical publication, must the
advertised products be substantially related to the organization's purposes?
A. Yes. The low-cost provision pertains only to the product restrictions, not
to advertising restrictions.
Q. Do advertisements for products donated to my authorized organization
qualify for mailing at the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates?
A. Yes. The rules state that products and services received by an
organization as donations or gifts are considered substantially related
to one or more of the organization's purposes.
Q. Is a periodical publication eligible for mailing at the Nonprofit Standard Mail
rates if it is considered a product and it cost the authorized organization more
than the amount specified for a low-cost item?
A. Maybe, but only if the publication could qualify for authorization as a
Periodicals publication and it does not contain any ineligible