At Victory Enterprises, we’ve delivered thousands of unique mail pieces around the country to millions of addresses. Through paper shortages, inflation, and mail delays, we’ve helped all our candidates navigate the complicated world of campaign mail management.
When you commit to mail as a part of your campaign for public office, you’re entering into a delicate relationship with your mail vendor and the USPS. The key to effectively managing the many parties involved in your mail program is planning everything well in advance.
Part of planning ahead is establishing your mail schedule. In our mail shop, we look at a few factors when planning your schedule.
- Drop Date Vs. Delivery Date: When we give you a date for your mail, that is the planned drop date. That is the day your mail is delivered to the post office. That is the last day we have control over your mail piece. Depending on your postage, it will take another 3-4 days to arrive in mail boxes. It can take longer or shorter depending on the post office.
- High volume mail days and holidays: We try to avoid drop dates that coincide with high-volume delivery days, such as holidays, where your mail is likely to get lost in the shuffle. Thanks to our relationships with USPS representatives, we can avoid these.
- Postage: The majority of our mail is sent with standard, third-class postage. However, all political mail is red-tagged, which requires the post office to deliver it within a certain timeframe. The closer we get to the election, as candidates look at fitting last-minute mail into the plan, we can utilize first class postage for 1-2 day speedy delivery.
Mail schedules need to take advantage of the average voter’s election attention span. Mail is most effective in the final 5-6 weeks before the election. We plan most mail drop dates by working backwards. When should the very last piece drop? Let’s use this year’s General Election as an example.
The election is November 8th. If you assume four days for delivery, the latest possible drop date is October 31st for a presumed delivery date of the 5th or the 7th. We never want mail to hit mailboxes after the election, and we try to avoid tight timelines like this. A safer date would be the 28th. Now let’s say you have five mail pieces.
If your final piece drops on the 28th, we would deliver the 4th mail piece on the 25th (hopefully arriving on the 1st), the 3rd mail piece on the 19th (hopefully arriving on the 24th), and the 2nd piece on the 14th (delivery date the 20th), which means the 1st mail piece should be dropped by the 10th (resulting in a first mail piece arriving in mail boxes on the 14th).
What does this mean for the actual writing and design of your mail? While timelines vary from candidate to candidate, you should plan 4-7 days of work per mail piece. If you know what you need to say and decide on your messaging early, we can start working on your mail in August or September. Getting it done well in advance will help us secure the needed paper and ensure priority treatment from the printer and the post office.
If you’re planning a mail campaign and want the experts on your side, Victory Enterprises will help you turn this daunting organizational task into smooth sailing. To get started, send your consultant or firstname.lastname@example.org an email.