Don’t Be Like Ted: 3 Smarter Ways to Get Political Direct Mail Noticed

It happens every election cycle. A candidate running for political office sends out a direct mail effort that gets attention, but for the wrong reason. A single miscue can result in a lost opportunity to garner support, as well as provide ammunition for the opposition.

MarthaMc_012. Use Big Color Images
Images matter in making a connection with the voter.

Think about it. They’re a vital element of any GOTV (get out the vote) mailing that drops close to an election day, showing the candidate meeting with voters, making speeches, etc. So why not use them in fundraising efforts to reinforce the candidate’s brand?

This mailer was sent by McSally for Congress. The reverse side of the 6”x11” envelope is a vertical photo of the combat pilot-turned-candidate, Martha McSally, standing in front of an A-10 warplane. Em-dash style bullet points list her military and civilian accomplishments in mostly ALL CAPS.

The letter inside, accompanied by a newspaper article, elaborates on her accomplishments, and uses them to support her candidacy and her opposition to President Obama’s policies.

Other places to include four-color photos include the letter, the reply form, and buck slips and other inserts. They just have to make sense to the donor by providing support, not distraction, to the appeal.

3. Use Retail Campaigning Tools
Packages that reward political contributors with a front-end premium like a signed photograph of the candidate, or a bumper sticker are a tried-and-true staple of direct mail. People like getting free stuff, especially when they feel a personal affirmation for their donation.

This fundraising package from the Democratic National Committee goes a lot further.

This campaign that consisted of a letter, donation form, and BRE. But it doubled as a door-to-door campaign kit by including a big sheet of stickers, a couple of door hangers, and putting the wafer-sealed outer itself to work.

DemPoster_01When unfolded and flattened, the outer becomes a 10-1/2”x16-1/2” “VOTE DEMOCRAT” poster that can be displayed on a window or a wall. This is a tactic that despite the added cost, has been successful for several non-profits, and helps build brand in a big way.

All of these items help stretch campaign dollars and build brand by making your donors part of your street team.

Great fundraising is not just making the right pitch at the right time, but connecting with them on an emotional level.  When you make a strong argument for a candidate, draw a clear distinction with the opponent, and engage with the donor in an emotional way, you have the ingredients for a strong fundraising appeal.

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