TheVoicesOfAmerica.org

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Direct Mail

Lessons learned

  • Weak effect on voter turnout
    • 1 vote per 333 pieces of mail sent x 1.5 voters per household = 500 people
    • Mail that advocates on behalf of a candidate or issue may win votes through persuasion, not mobilization – statistical evidence though is mixed
  • Nonpartisan GOTV mail has proven more effective at mobilizing voters than partisan or advocacy mail. Partisan and advocacy mail appear to have no effect.
  • Subtle variations in message content have little effect
  • Shaming voters by showing them their own voting record and/or that of neighbors increases turnout
    • 1 vote per 20 recipients (+5% increase)
    • Showing their record and neighbors record increased by 8%, i.e. 1 vote per 12 mailings
    • Must be careful though since people may become irritated since resent snooping and scolding. May cause public outcry. (In some areas may be illegal to send neighbors voting record information.)
  • No evidence exists to support synergistic effects between mail campaigns and other GOTV tactics



$67 per vote at 50 cents per mailing. $100 per vote if total cost of mailing and postage is $0.75

  • Save money by sending a mailing to each household, instead of to each voter



Design considerations

  • Use evocative language and images to emphasize importance of voting, e.g. images of Iwo Jima to remind voters of sacrifices made to preserve the right to vote
  • Recipients only glace at mailings momentarily en route to the trash – “book” needs to be judged by its cover
  • One school of thought – homely mail gets more attention because it looks like something from a local organization or neighborhood group

 


Bulk mail considerations

  • Will save 30% postage
  •  Requires bulk mailing permit from local post office
  • By law, political direct mail gets priority over other direct mail
  • Some post offices get jammed with political mail during days leading up to elections
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