Direct mail fundraising is a staple of most modern political campaigns. If you’re running anything but the smallest campaign, direct mail should be part of your political fundraising mix as well.
Fundraising mailings help your campaign grow a base of support among small and medium sized donors. Raising money through the mail also gives you added opportunities to get your message out to voters, as part of your direct mail piece.
In this article, we present 7 great tips for writing your political fundraising mail. Before you start reading the tips, be sure to check out Effective Fundraising by Mail at The Fundraising Authority. It’s geared towards non-profit direct mail, but most of the post’s lessons are applicable to political campaigns as well. It’s essential reading, so we won’t rehash the topics from that article here.
1. Be Emotional
The best political fundraising direct mail appeals to core human emotions. Too many candidates try to avoid making a personal connection in their mail pieces. If you want to raise money through the mail, strike an emotional cord with your prospects.
2. Tell a Story
Good mail pieces tell a compelling story — they spell out for the reader why the election, and your candidacy, is so important that they should write a check and send it in now – today! Ideally, the story will tie back to your campaign message.
3. Use Urgency
Your goal is to get your prospects to write a check as soon as they finish reading the letter… that means that you’ll need to tell them why they should send in a check right away. Why do you need the money now?
4. Be Personal
In this day and age, “Dear Voter” letters don’t work. People expect you to be personal in your letters… at the very least, the salutation should address the person directly (i.e. Dear John, or Dear Mrs. Ragu). Even better is personalizing the letter several times, including the person’s name multiple times, and maybe even mentioning their town name or some other personal tidbit somewhere in the letter.
5. Make an Ask
You’d be surprised how many candidates send out direct mail fundraising letters without actually making an ask. Tell people why you are running, why the race matters, and why you need the money – then ask for it! (For more on making fundraising asks, read How to Make an Ask).
6. Mind Your P’s and Q’s
Political fundraising direct mail letters need not be overly stuffy or formal (in fact, for most races, they should seem rather conversational and informal) but… and this is a big but… watch your grammar and spelling. Voters may want to feel like you’re a “normal guy (or girl),” but they also want to know that you care enough to edit and spell check your letters.
7. Mix it Up
If your campaign is using lots of fundraising direct mail, be sure to mix it up – send most letters out signed by the candidate, but maybe one signed by the candidate’s spouse, another by the campaign manager, and yet another by the campaign accountant (“I just looked at the checkbook, and realized we need to raise $5000 this week in order to win!”)
Political fundraising direct mail can be a significant boost to your campaign’s bottom line, even if your campaign is fairly small and local. Use these tips to make your mail efforts effective within your overall fundraising strategy.