What is postcard activism?
People write personal messages to voters via postcards and/or letters to encourage them to vote and influence their decisions. You can write these messages on your own or organize others to join you.
Why write postcards?
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. Postcards are an easy way for people to reach out to voters in swing districts across the country. Further, many volunteers enjoy postcard writing as their first foray into activism.
Postcards are an easy way for people to reach out to voters in swing districts across the country.
How can I get started?
Different organizations work with campaigns and initiatives to provide scripts and addresses. You will receive addresses and scripts via email, website, text, or Facebook Messenger; some organizations enable you to choose your preferred channel.
To get started, [link]
- Usually, you will provide your own postage and postcards.
Some campaigns and groups prefer to send you preprinted postcards to personalize.
- Some campaigns request that you return the stamped postcards to them to be mailed from the district. Others will have you mail them yourself.; Note that an out-of-district postmark is unlikely to affect the impact of your message.
How can I organize a group?
- Make a list of friends, group members, and neighbors to invite. Go ahead and ask folks you don’t know well. Many people are looking for a way to take action, especially women.
- Pick a date and time for your party, depending on what’s most convenient for those you plan to invite.
- Choose a well-lit location with tables and chairs at someone’s house or a friendly coffee shop in your neighborhood (best to ask permission if it’s a commercial establishment).
- Send invitations via email, post on your group and personal Facebook page, and include it in group newsletters if appropriate. Ask for a commitment to attend.
- Inform invitees that they can attend just an hour or stay longer if you want to extend the time. A typical volunteer will complete 15-20 postcards in 2 hours.
- If space permits, ask invitees to bring a friend or two.
- The day before the event, send a reminder of time and place to everyone who has committed to attend.
The organizations listed in the link below are a few of those offering postcarding opportunities. Organizations may not always have campaigns available. Our Postcarding Action Kits will help you get started. You can also find postcarding opportunities on the Together We Elect Calendar.
Do you have any tips?
- Be sure your volunteers understand the guidelines provided to you by the organization or campaign.
- If the organization or campaign doesn’t supply postcards and/or postage, you will need to purchase them in advance. The post office sells rolls of 100 stamps and blank 3×5” postpaid postcards. We recommend 4×6” postcards lined on one side, which you can purchase an at office-supply store. Avoid overtly political designs.
- Have enough pens, markers, and colored pencils on hand.
- Provide an info sheet that describes the candidate, issue, or mission of the project.
- Decide in advance how the postcards will be mailed. Best practice is to gather them all at the end of the event, or as people leave, and mail them all yourself.
- Proofread the postcards carefully before mailing.
- Make the party a fun social event. Serve refreshments, take the time to discuss the campaign, and ask people to share their favorite written postcards. You might want to wait to pour the wine until after the writing is finished to avoid errors.
- As a follow-up at the event or later, ask people for feedback and set a date for the next gathering.