Urgent Matter with United States Postal Service

The American Legion National Commander – Brett Reistad, has brought a very urgent matter to or attention that has a potentially significant impact on The American Legion and all its members. He is asking for each of our support in this matter.

The United States Postal Service has proposed a rule that would prevent The American Legion (and other nonprofits) from sending merchandise or goods like calendars, stickers, etc. in nonprofit marketing mail. Instead, the USPS would classify these mailings as first-class mail.

This is not a simple change in the category of how mail is sent. This change would eliminate the use of premiums in nonprofit fundraising mail — and would increase The American Legion’s mailing cost by 200 percent.

That significant increase would critically impact our programs dedicated:

  • To helping and advocating for veterans
  • Mentoring children
  • Assisting transitioning servicemembers
  • Providing scholarships for students
  • Comforting the afflicted throughout every community in our great nation.

We must quickly work together to let the USPS know this proposal is unreasonable. My team has prepared a sample templated letter. You can download either their Micosoft Word template or PDF

Download Microsoft Word Template


Download PDF Template

I encourage you to download either the word or PDF template, personalize it with your information and email it to the USPS (ProductClassification@usps.gov) with the subject line: USPS Marketing Mail Content Eligibility.

Please don’t delay. This is an urgent matter and the letters must be emailed no later than Friday, Sept. 14. Thank you for your assistance, and for what you do every day on behalf of our nation’s veterans, servicemembers and their families.

Example of American Legion Email to USPS

American Legion and USPS Email

Body of Text

Dear Manager, Product Classification:

I am writing on behalf of The American Legion in response to the USPS notice in the August 23 Federal Register. The notice reveals the Postal Service intends to propose a rule saying “… no merchandise or goods …” will be permitted in Marketing Mail. If such items were to be mailed, they would require First Class, or other more expensive, postage. We strenuously oppose any such new rule as this would have a catastrophic impact on our ability to carry out our mission on behalf of our nation’s veterans, service members and their families.

The American Legion is the nation’s largest and most influential wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans. As a nonprofit mailer, our organization uses front-end and back-end premiums both at the national and state levels to help raise the necessary funds to support our many programs. These premiums, such as calendars, coins and greeting cards, and items like pieces of cloth, flowers and candles have been developed to maximize the response from our members and supporters to yield the best possible outcome for our many veteran, Americanism and youth programs around the country.

If the rule USPS contemplates were proposed and implemented, it would eliminate the use of premiums in nonprofit fundraising mail. As is obvious, we believe, the drastic difference in postage cost – up to 200% increase – would overwhelm the relatively slim margins that are now sufficient to encourage our use of premiums in Marketing Mail fundraising. A switch to First Class is simply not an option.

The American Legion has invested significant time and resources to develop a mail fundraising program that meets current standards. Our mailings have been approved repeatedly by USPS as in compliance with Marketing Mail classification specifications and we have reasonably relied on stability from the Postal Service’s classification system to make our investment in these efforts worthwhile. The sudden elimination of premiums would cripple our mailing program. The USPS says that it partners with us mailers. Springing a wholesale and drastic change such as contemplated does not demonstrate collaboration. It is not how partners treat each other.

In the short run, if not also the long run, The American Legion would suffer substantial lost revenue and consequential lost resources for our programs and those we serve. It is not a foregone conclusion that alternative approaches in the mail would replace our use of premiums in Marketing Mail. To the contrary, the use of premiums in our mail packages is one of the reasons hard-copy USPS mail outperforms many digital options. Ruling out premiums would greatly devalue our postal mail and inevitably lead to a further migration from mail to alternative means of fundraising and membership development. The mail works for us now. But, this change would force us to reinvent the fundraising wheel. A process that would lead to lost funds and

critically impact our programs dedicated to advocating for veterans, mentoring our nation’s youth, assisting transitioning servicemembers, providing scholarships for students, and comforting the afflicted throughout every community in our great nation.

The American Legion, like other nonprofit mailers, has long relied on our partnership with the Postal Service. We urge you to justify our reliance by dropping this proposal from further consideration.


Bob Hockenberger
Post Adjutant
American Legion Petaluma
Personal Phone – 707-318-2811



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