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Supporting H.R. 1169. (Letters to the Editor).

Dear Editor:

As an avid reader of The NPT, I was disappointed with your assessment of H.R. 1169 in the September 1, 2001 issue, which is a bill designed to clarify the cooperative mailing rule.

First of all, H.R. 1169 is progressing quite nicely, and does not appear to be dying quietly in Congress as your sources suggest.

Secondly, the bill is intended to cure misapplications of the cooperative mailing rule (CMR). For example, the CMR was applied to one nonprofit organization to take away its nonprofit mail permit because its lease with the City of San Diego, a lease the other nonprofits have been forced to sign as a condition of doing business in that city.

In another example, a fundraiser was assessed millions of dollars of postage deficiency assessments because 12 state registration laws require that fundraisers guarantee that a minimum percentage of funds raised go to the charity. The Postal Service said that therefore the charity does not bear the entire risk of the mailings, and the CMR was thus violated.

Thirdly, as regard to no-risk contracts, H.R. 1169 merely clarifies the law that nonprofits may use the nonprofit postage rates to mail fundraising letters regardless of the commercial arrangements they enter into to mail those letters. The bill applies to letters that would qualify for the nonprofit rates if mailed by the nonprofits themselves. The bill merely clarifies the law that CMR was never intended to prohibit a nonprofit from having freedom of choice with regard to its commercial contracts when it mails its own fundraising letters.

No-risk contracts enable many non-profits to mail letters that they otherwise could not afford to. No-risk contracts are beneficial for start-up, small or unpopular organizations - or advocacy organizations that do not accept federal funds because they believe it is immoral for taxpayers to support issues that they may not agree with. But in any event, nobody puts a gun to the heads of nonprofits to use no-risk contracts.

Besides, your complaint about people giving to a charity and expecting their name to stay with that charity would prevent even nonprofits from marketing their own names for use by other organizations. That logic would shut down donor-acquisition mailing for most nonprofit organizations, and would take away a significant source of income from nonprofits.

H.R. 1169 is designed to clarify the law that nonprofits have the freedom to enter into commercial arrangements of their choice to help them mail their fundraising letters. The Postal Service could have taken administrative action to cure its own misapplication of the CMR, but did not even after it was asked to by Congress. Therefore, H.R. 1169 is a darn good bill for nonprofits that wish to use the nonprofit postage rates to continue to mail their fundraising letters.

Mark J. Fitzgibbons

American Target Advertising

Manassas, Va.
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Publication:The Non-profit Times
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Previous Article:Keep the promise. (Letters to the Editor).
Next Article:Over the top: Charities know what they are doing. (Out on a Limb).

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