Royal Mail is facing competition from TNT Post for its direct marketing delivery service for charities.
Commercial rivals to Royal Mail have been hampered in the past in their efforts to attract charity-based business because only Royal Mail is VAT-exempt for charity mailings.
However, TNT Post has entered a partnership with print management company Brightsource which will enable it to handle mail on behalf of charities.
TNT Post will work with Brightsource’s downstream access postal service called Fastrack. TNT Post will collect and sort charity direct mail before handing it to Royal Mail for final mile delivery.
Fastrack launched in June 2006, and minimises exposure to VAT by integrating print and postal management. Under single supply VAT regulations, if a direct mail format is zero-rated then ancillary services, such as postage, can also be zero-rated if provided by the same supplier.
Brightsource will use TNT Post as an upstream mail carrier and use the company’s TNT Post Premier service, a two-day guaranteed solution for pre-sorted mail.
TNT Post chief executive Nick Wells says: “We are delighted that we will soon be carrying mail on behalf of some of the UK’s most highly regarded charities and third sector organisations.”
Brightsource says it is currently responsible for managing the production and delivery of one in seven UK fundraising mailings. It has worked with organisations such as Unicef, the British Heart Foundation and the RSPCA.
Separately, Royal Mail statistics revealed this week that the number of direct mail items sent by charities fell last year for the first time since it began recording data in 2004. Numbers dropped by 0.7% last year to 409 million mailings.