Customer Support Ruling
“Celebrity” Names on Nonprofit USPS Marketing Mail
UPDATED January 2017
This Customer Support Ruling discusses eligibility of materials to be mailed at the Nonprofit USPS Marketing Mail (nonprofit) prices when the name of a celebrity, politician, or other “endorser” is shown on the envelope or printed materials being mailed.
Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 703.1.6.1 provides that an organization authorized to mail at the nonprofit prices may mail only its own matter at those prices. An organization may not delegate or lend the use of its permit to mail at the nonprofit prices to any other person or organization.
DMM 703.1.5 requires that:
All matter mailed at the [nonprofit] prices must identify the authorized nonprofit organization. The name and return address of the authorized nonprofit organization must be either on the outside of the mailpiece or in a prominent location on the material being mailed. Pseudonyms or bogus names of persons or organizations may not be used. If the piece bears any name and return address, it must be that of the authorized nonprofit organization. A well-recognized alternative designation (e.g., “The March of Dimes”) or abbreviation (e.g., “AFL-CIO”) may be used rather than the full organization name.
The name of a celebrity, politician, or other “endorser” would not be a well-recognized alternative description or abbreviation for a nonprofit organization. Therefore, such a name is not permitted to appear by itself on the outside of mailpieces to be mailed at the nonprofit prices by the authorized organization. However, Postal Service regulations do not prohibit the inclusion of such a “celebrity” name on the mailpieces (or contents) of authorized nonprofit organizations, as long as the pieces are the authorized organization’s “own matter” and also bear the correct name and address of the authorized nonprofit organization.
Postal regulations also do not prohibit an authorized nonprofit organization from designing mailpieces to be effective for the purposes of a given mailing campaign, for example, by the use of distinctive colors or type fonts. However, all pieces presented for mailing at the nonprofit rates must legibly include the name and address of the authorized nonprofit organization as prescribed by DMM 703.1.5.
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