Serving the nonprofit marketing & charitable fundraising community since 1982

Ethics & Policy Resources for Nonprofits

Information to help your organization comply with DMA member guidelines

New Higher Postage Rates Are Possible — Nonprofit Organizations, please submit your comments to the PRC by March 1st

The PRC is required under law to review the rate setting process every ten years. The ten year review concluded with the PRC’s finding that the current rate setting process has not served the USPS and issued a proposed rulemaking to address shortcomings. This proposed rulemaking will have a big impact on nonprofit mailers because if the PRC changes the current inflation-cap on annual postage rate hikes — as many expect — mailers will see postage rates rise unpredictably and frequently.

The United States Postal Service (as it has for decades) wants the rate cap removed altogether; it seeks unfettered rate setting authority. This would mean that rate hikes of 1 or 2 percent could become 4 or 5 percent or more annually at the discretion of postal management. The rate cap has served as a check and balance on the Postal Service and is widely supported by the mailing community which counts on predictable, stable rates. The fear now is that the USPS would gain more discretion to raise rates without proper regulatory oversight by the PRC, leading to higher rates and an unpredictable and unstable postal environment and ultimately a death spiral for this important government agency that serves every community.

Please submit comments opposing such changes — your voice is vitally important and it must be a part of the consideration by the PRC as it contemplates the proper rate setting for the future.

Here is a sample letter with an outline of key points. Please ensure you tailor the points in the sample letter to articulate the case for your organization, and send any questions or comments to Senny Boone at

You must file your comments online. You must fill out a form for a temporary account in order to file. All may be done at once, but make sure you do so by March 1st, the deadline to file comments. Thank you for your continued support of DMANF and DMA Advocacy.

12 Tips to Prepare for GDPR Compliance

January 2018 — The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in effect for organizations active in the EU on May 25, 2018 and replaces the European Data Protection Directive in all EU member states. The GDPR does not exempt nonprofit organizations, which collect a great deal of personal information and must comply with the GDPR. The fines are very steep: 4% of annual turnover or 20 million euros, whichever higher. Take time now to review the key steps needed for compliance. Please note that this update does not replace legal advice — please review the GDPR and its impact with your own legal counsel. If you have questions or require assistance, contact DMANF’s Senny Boone. The key points in this document were developed in conjunction with the Email Experience Council.

Comprehensive Tax Reform and the charitable deduction
January 12, 2018

With the passage of the Comprehensive Tax Reform bill, we fear less individual contributions to charity. The charitable deduction remains, but not for everyone. Since the standard deduction is doubled for individuals ($12,000) and for married couples ($24,000), it translates to fewer itemizers and as such those who may claim the charitable deduction. According to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, charitable giving may decline by as much as $15 billion per year. The DMANF and many other organizations sought an amendment for a universal charitable tax deduction — even for itemizers. We are grateful to the organizations who sent letters in support of the amendment. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford’s universal charitable deduction amendment did not make it into the final version of the bill due to its high cost of over $220 billion. It remains to be seen when and if another legislative vehicle will be offered so that a change can be made. For now, charities must track impact on year-over-year giving. The number of individuals who itemize will be impacted by the changes to the SALT deductions at the local level and the mortgage interest deduction cap. The Unrelated Business Income Tax on royalty income for the use of an organization’s name and logo was removed from the final version of the bill. The final version of the bill also preserves historic tax credits. DMANF continues its work to secure a universal charitable tax deduction.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Senny Boone or Mark Micali.

Postal Coalition Op-Ed to The Hill, August 7, 2017: Looming Risks Threaten an Essential Channel for Businesses and Nonprofits

DMANF’s Crisis Response Toolkit

DMANF in the News

DMANF’s Top 10 Nonprofit Good Giving Tips

Accounting for Costs of Activities that Include Fundraising

December 15, 2015
DMANF Signs On to Comments in Opposition to the Proposed Gift Substantiation Regulation

September 23, 2015
DMA-Led Coalition Wins on Clarification of California Nonprofit Fundraising Law; Group Applauds California Governor’s Signature of Assembly Bill 556; also covered in The Nonprofit Times

How to Comply with The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Statement of Position SOP 98-2

Accountability-Dashboard logo

DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard

This tool provides snapshot transparency of relevant metrics to donors who otherwise look to third party reporting sites. While most of the information on the Nonprofit Dashboard is already available on an organization’s website within annual reports, etc., many donors and other constituents prefer quick views over poring through multi-page online publications. DMANF Nonprofit members are strongly encouraged to take the industry lead in adopting the Nonprofit Dashboard into its annual public reporting.

As part of this initiative, DMANF evaluated opportunities to include qualitative — as well as quantitative — reporting within the Dashboard to share, in a very public-friendly way, organizational priorities, progress against short- and long- term goals, and obstacles to success. Charting Impact, an initiative led by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar USA, and Independent Sector, does exactly this. Many organizations are already using Charting Impact as part of GuideStar Exchange. DMANF therefore is coordinating with GuideStar to promote Charting Impact and to explore future opportunities for shared efforts in this area.

Kudos to Dashboard Adopters!

Currently, these organizations are using the Dashboard. Email Alicia Osgood if your organization is participating:

Instructions to DMANF nonprofit members

  1. Complete the DMA Nonprofit Dashboard with 3 years of quantified performance across 8 metrics. Numbers reported in the Nonprofit Dashboard should be consistent with audited financial statements and other published service reports, as applicable.
  2. Post the Nonprofit Dashboard on your website.
    • Post the dashboard with your annual report, audited financials, etc. That’s where donors will naturally navigate to find this type of information. This should be no more than two clicks from your home page.
    • Include a link on other pages highly trafficked by donors, e.g., a donors services FAQ page.
    • Use the term “Nonprofit Dashboard” when referring to or linking to this graph. Together we will build name recognition over time.
    • Educate your donor services staff to direct donors to this new resource.
  3. Complete a Charting Impact report via Guidestar. Charting Impact helps your organization tell your story in an accessible, concise way by answering five simple yet powerful questions. DMANF is encouraging members to use this functionality within Guidestar and link to it from your Dashboard.
  4. Ongoing: Update most recent year numbers annually, when your new annual report and audited financials are made available to constituents.

Thank you for your leadership in adopting the Nonprofit Dashboard reporting tool as part of your organization’s due diligence in providing complete, relevant, and easy to use information to the public. Your feedback is very important. We welcome suggestions to ensure the Nonprofit Dashboard a useful tool for your organization and your supporters.

Questions? Email Alicia Osgood.

  • Sample DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard
  • Template for DMANF Nonprofit Accountability Dashboard

Ethical Guidelines

DMA Consumer Choice Services

The DMA asks that all members abide by consumer choices for their marketing offers, regardless of the marketing channels used. The DMA provides several suppression file services to its subscribers to process as they prepare marketing and fundraising campaigns.

Nonprofit members should email Alicia Osgood as there is special consideration on pricing from DMA’s third-party provider (Interactive Marketing Solutions) for nonprofits not already benefiting from these services via their agencies/suppliers. See DMA Consumer Choice Suppression Services.

The Nonprofit Federation intends and believes that its guidelines for ethical behavior are the strictest and most comprehensive in both the direct marketing and charitable communities. As an operating division of the Direct Marketing Association, the Nonprofit Federation requires its members to adhere to the same ethical guidelines as other DMA members, as delineated in the Commitment to Consumer Choice, which all DMA members are required to sign, and the Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice (a specially annotated version for DMANF members) and the Donor’s Bill of Rights, as adopted by the Nonprofit Federation and other major organizations representing the nonprofit sector. Members and staff monitor the actions of the membership and of others in the nonprofit community, and take appropriate action in cases of suspected ethical violations.

The Donor Bill of Rights

Complaints to the DMA Committee on Ethical Business Practice are handled confidentially. If possible, complaints are resolved by modifying the offending documents or procedures, which the Committee reviews before closing the case. If a known violation continues, the Committee will publicize its findings, including the name of the violator and the facts of the case. Where a law may have been violated, it forwards the case to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and publicizes the referral.

Policy Alerts & Information

POSTAL CENTER: Like us on Facebook (DMA Nonprofit Federation), follow us on Twitter (@DMANF) and read our bi-weekly News Update (Thursdays) to stay continuously informed.

CHARITABLE DEDUCTION: We continue to monitor all tax reform proposals and will keep you apprised as developments occur.

Questions or comments? Contact Xenia “Senny” Boone, Esquire.

Charity Watchdogs

Executive summaries of DMANF-commissioned studies take the bite out of Watchdogs.

DMANF Grassroots Network

Make a difference!

Contact your Congressman or Senator about the issues that affect you and your organization. And make sure your voice is heard by enrolling in the DMANF Grassroots Network!

More resources & tools

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