By E. Francisco Dalere, TRENDS Managing Editor
Association fights for discount, even though deadline might render use of promotion moot
Nonprofits will be able to take advantage of an experimental postal rate discount, thanks to the efforts of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Washington, though it might be too late.
The Postal Regulatory Commission last week approved the US Postal Service’s special promotion to offer a 3% discount on Standard and First-Class mail letters and flats that include a two-dimensional barcode that can be read or scanned by a smartphone. The approval directs USPS “to make the discount available to nonprofit mailers that comport with all the other program requirements.”
USPS ’ original request for the promotion, back in early April, excluded nonprofits and gave no reason, according to ANM. At the request of the PRC chairman, the Postal Commission provided three justifications for the exclusion: 1) 2D barcodes have more potential for commercial mail, because it involves the sale of products, than for nonprofit mail; 2) more limited program would be quicker and simpler to implement; and 3) nonprofit Standard Mail rates are reduced already.
The Alliance argued that there is no proof that nonprofits are not interested in using 2D barcodes, and that barring nonprofits from the promotion is unlawful under current law.
As for the argument that nonprofit rates already are reduced, “that fact[s] were sufficient to justify discrimination, discrimination against nonprofits would always be lawful,” the Alliance argued.
The PRC agreed. The promotion ends in August, and because nonprofits generally plan their mailing campaigns months in advance, the likelihood is most organizations might not be able to take advantage of the program. The Alliance said it sought a decision anyway to make clear that a precedent to exclude nonprofits is avoided “if the promotional program is extended or made permanent.”
[a1]Should this be the Alliance? (unsure)