POSTCARDS TO WI AND MI
By Reid McCollum
Hand-writing postcards to voters is the gateway to activism. It is easy, fun, cathartic, inspirational, an outlet, and it matters. If my goal were to eventually convince you to give door-to-door canvassing a try, my first ask of you would be to write postcards.
I co-founded Postcards to Wisconsin, which organized tens of thousands of volunteers in 46 states to write 603,000 postcards to voters in only 9 weeks ahead of the Wisconsin primary in April. We knew from the success of using postcards in IL06 in 2018 that volunteers love to write them. But I was blown away at how quickly the project grew, with grassroots groups spreading the word far and wide, largely on social media. And many in DGTDO helped a lot. Dozens of volunteers within the township helped on the back-end to prep and ship orders. Some are PCs, and others are people on neighborhood grassroots email lists.
Now our sights are set on sending over 2 million postcards to voters in both Michigan and Wisconsin for November. We started taking orders on May 1, and by May 10 we already had 660,000 postcards ordered!
Here’s how it works. Volunteers sign up at www.postcards2WI.com and pick between two messages, as well as if they want to write to voters in Wisconsin or Michigan. We ship the postcards for free, along with addresses and instructions. The minimum order is 200 postcards, and volunteers are responsible for providing the $0.35 postcard stamps. Once the cards are written, everyone holds onto them until October and mails them according to the instructions. There’s a helpful frequently asked questions section at www.postcards2WI.com/faq, which explains the messages and a lot more.
How do we know postcards work? We are using the best tactics learned from hundreds of randomized controlled experiments. The messages we are using can increase turnout by at least 20,000 votes, which is two thirds of Trump’s 2016 margin of victory in Wisconsin and Michigan. We expect each postcard will increase turnout by 1% or more.
The project is funded entirely by individual donations, most of which are small dollar. We turn out an additional voter for every $6 spent on printing and shipping postcards to volunteers. That is an unheard-of return on investment in politics, made possible by the fact that we are leveraging volunteers. And those volunteers spread the word and recruit others into activism, many of whom will end up doing more and joining groups.
No one knows what will happen in November. The pandemic, economic turmoil, and uncertainty about voting accessibility and safety create huge uncertainty. One thing I know for sure is that none of us want to see Trump win a second term by a razor thin margin and regret not doing more. We have five and a half months left!