A heartfelt handwritten note can make an impact!
- Campaigns and grassroots groups are producing handwritten post cards to voters, encouraging them to vote or to vote for a particular candidate.
- Postcards are an easy way for people to reach out to voters in swing districts across the country.
Benefits of postcards
Postcards can be very effective in influencing voters. One study shows that handwritten, personalized postcards sent to women who are occasional voters as part of a get-out-the-vote effort increased turnout by 1.4% over a control group. Postcard-writing parties are a great way to energize volunteers. They are easy to organize, can be a nice social occasion (even virtually!), and provide the satisfaction of accomplishment. Many volunteers enjoy postcarding as their first foray into activism.
Preparing for your postcarding project.
- First, select the postcarding provider and the campaign that you want to work on. There are many postcarding providers, so feel free to explore to find the the one that will inspire your group. You can start by looking at the action kits for several current postcarding projects posted here: postcarding and direct mail action kits.
- When you choose the one you’d like to sign up for, you will be asked how many names you want. A typical volunteer will complete 15-20 postcards in 2 hours.
- The postcard provider will then send you by email a script and a list of the names and addresses that you will send postcards to. Some campaigns and groups will prefer to send you their pre-printed postcards to personalize. Most of the time you will be providing the stamps and postcards.
- Some campaigns will ask that you send back the postcards with stamps on them so that they can be mailed from the district. Others will have you mail them from your hometown.
Recruiting for your postcarding party
- Pick a date, time and location for your party. All you need is a well lit location with a kitchen or dining room table. You may also have a friendly coffee shop in your neighborhood where people would like to gather. You can postcard in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening any day of the week. The times can be flexible.
- Invite 10-15 friends, group members, neighbors. Don’t be afraid to ask new people. There are hundreds of people, especially women right now, who are looking for a way to do something about the elections. Writing postcards is a very easy first step.
- Post it on your group and personal Facebook page. Include it in your newsletters. Email your friends and neighbors. Always ask people for a commitment to come to the specific location on the specific date at the specific time. Let people know they can come for just an hour, or stay for two if you want to extend the time. The day before, send a reminder to everyone and don’t forget to include the time and place again. Let people know it is OK to bring a friend or two.
Making the most effective postcard
- Handwritten, personalized postcards work dramatically better than pre-printed form post cards.
- Make sure you get a script from the campaign and share that with your volunteers. Postcard writers should use that script to create personalized messages.
- It helps to provide your volunteers with an info sheet that describes the candidate or issue that you are working on, and the mission of the postcarding project. You can often find that on the website of the postcard provider.
- Have enough pens, markers and colored pencils for people.
- Make sure you know if you are mailing them or sending them back to the provider for them to mail.
- Make the party a social event. Have refreshments, take the time to discuss the campaign, have people share their best postcards.
- If the campaign doesn’t supply postcards, and you need to purchase them in advance, we recommend the 4×6″ cards that are lined on one side. (The post office only sells blank 3×5″ cards. You can find the 4×6″ lined cards at Staples or another store.)
- Expect to purchase enough postcard stamps for the list. The post office sells rolls of 100.
- Encourage the more creative volunteers to have fun but base everything on the key points in the script.
The postcarding organizations listed below are a few of those offering postcarding opportunities. Postcarding organizations may offer one or more campaign and may not always have campaigns available. Our Postcarding Action Kits will help you get started with some of these organizations. They are available by clicking links under Getting Started below.
Visit any of the Postcarding Action Kits linked below for information about individual postcarding providers and the steps to get started: