Let’s Answer the Election Question

Let’s Answer the Election Question

 

28 May 2024

 

By David Allen, Development for Conservation

 

Are you ready for the election season?

Me neither.

 

Aside from the every-four-years political insanity, the presidential election always presents some challenges for fall appeal planning as well.

And this year will be worse than normal.

 

I believe that one of the two candidates presents an all-too-real existential threat to our country and to American democracy. I also believe that some others feel the exact same way – about the other candidate.

 

Regardless, the bottom line is that few people are likely to be paying attention to renewal or seasonal appeal letters around the election. There will be too much noise in the mailbox, and too much media distraction in general to make for effective (conservation) fundraising.

Note that the noise will not be equally loud everywhere. Seven states (AZ, NV, WI, MI, PA, NC, and GA) will be loudest in terms of the presidential race, but every other state will have down-ticket races that could get loud as well.

 

So, how to navigate?

Election Day in 2024 will be November 5, 2024. In my opinion, the election will negatively affect direct mail results for most of October and probably for the week following Election Day as well. But let’s say especially the four weeks of October 21, October 28, November 4, and November 11. Thanksgiving week should also be avoided, though mailing the week before – even having mail arrive on November 25 or 26 – should be OK.

So make sure you are planning around the election:

  • If you are planning to mail a single letter, plan for it to arrive on December 10, plus or minus a few days.
  • If you are planning to mail two letters (an initial letter and a single follow-up), plan for the first to arrive no later than Tuesday, October 8 and the follow-up letter to arrive no later than December 10.
  • If you are planning a sequence of three letters, I’d look at mailing as early as the first week in October with follow-up letters the weeks of November 18 and December 9.

 

In all cases, mailing targeted appeal letters will drive better results than email. However, email is a fraction of the cost and can serve as an important supplement. Keep the mailing schedule specified above, but email both before and after the mailed letters all the way up to and including December 30 and 31.

 

Note that you know all you need to know right now to write your appeal letters and organize your Fall campaign. If you need some inspiration, here’s a link to a prep piece I wrote for last Fall’s appeal season:

Last Minute Appeal Letter Writing Prep

 

Perhaps I should have called it Advance Letter Writing Prep!

 

Regardless, you can segment your audience and write these letters NOW. You can even produce all the letters, write appropriate “lift notes,” and prepare and seal the envelopes NOW – at least for the first letter.

Doing so will save time and make it more likely that you will be ready before the election mail hits.

 

It’s going to be a busy Fall.

 

Cheers, and have a great week!

 

-da

 

PS: Your comments on these posts are welcomed and warmly requested. If you have not posted a comment before, or if you are using a new email address, please know that there may be a delay in seeing your posted comment. That’s my SPAM defense at work. I approve all comments as soon as I am able during the day.

 

Photo by L D courtesy Pixabay

 

 

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2 Comments
  • Danielle Hirsch
    Posted at 15:21h, 28 May Reply

    Thank you for all of this!!!

  • Sally Cross
    Posted at 06:34h, 28 May Reply

    Re email – I’m sure I’m not the only person who is already receiving daily, sometimes two or three times/day emails from political candidates. Some days my inbox looks more like the sh*tshow that is Giving Tuesday.

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