With only a few weeks until the presidential election, many Americans are wondering what they can do — besides voting — to get involved. We know a lot of you have already been politically active this past year; in fact, our 2020 Party Trend Report shows that over 210,000 guests have been invited to politically focused events, like canvassing and phone banking since March!
The countdown is on — if you’ve been looking for a project where you can make a difference in these final days leading up to the election, consider hosting a physically distanced or virtual letter-writing party to encourage people to vote. Writing letters to voters is one of the most effective ways to help increase election turnout in 2020, and this is a fun way to spend time with your loved ones to encourage others to vote in this important election. There are a number of organizations who are looking for volunteers to write letters, including Vote Forward and Indivisible. Vote Forward has a core mission of increasing civic participation, which usually means volunteers are writing letters to people who belong to groups that have historically been under-represented in the electorate compared to their share of the population.
A typical letter through one of these organizations looks something like this:
I’m writing to you today to urge you to vote and to share my story with you. I vote in every election because _______.
There’s a critically important election coming up on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Will you please join me as a voter?
I’m not asking you to support specific candidates, only to vote, so our representatives are accountable to us all.
Here are five tips that will help you pull off a successful letter-writing party:
- Be a resource: In your Evite invitation, be sure to explain an overview of the process, and make yourself available should anyone have questions before the party. Organizations like Vote Forward prompt new volunteers to create an account which can take up to 36 hours to approve, so be sure to send all of the necessary details ahead of time in order to set your guests up for success.
- Prepare: If you’re throwing a physically distanced party, consider stocking up on colorful pens, decorative stamps, and nice stationery if it’s in your budget. If you’re throwing a virtual party, remind guests in your Evite invitation to gather necessary supplies, including envelopes, pens, and stamps.
- Set a goal: According to Vote Forward, the typical letter writing speed per person is 20 letters per hour. With that in mind, set a goal for your party! It may be feasible to draft 100 or 200 letters depending on the number of volunteers — set a goal and stick to it!
- Set context: As the host, it’s your duty to explain who you’re writing to and why, and why it’s important to target voters in the particular geographic area to which you’ve been assigned. Encourage your guests to write heartfelt and personal messages about why it’s so important to vote — but reiterate that it’s important to refrain from explicitly encouraging the letter recipient to support any particular candidate. Explain that these letters can be critical in encouraging people to vote, especially in swing states.
- Make it festive: Serve appetizers like patriotic pudding cups or firecracker popcorn and make sure your guests are properly hydrated with red, white and blueberry spa water to get everyone in the spirit of democracy. If you’re throwing a virtual party, you may also want to consider sending out a favorite appetizer recipe in advance of the party so everyone can enjoy together, wherever they are.
After your party, be sure to follow up with your guests to thank them for doing their civic duty — and encourage them to keep writing letters if they have the time and inclination. Timing is everything: aim to send the letters out mid-October for the letters to be the most impactful.
Ready to make a difference? Browse invitations to get started.Print