Working America Letter-Writing Program

Working America Letter-Writing Program

Sign up to be a volunteer with us by going to workam.org/M2MVolunteer

Working America is part of the labor movement, with 3.5 million members from working-class communities who don’t have a union on the job. We’ve been organizing since 2003 and run a high-powered field canvass program, combining meaningful conversations at the door with analytics. We’ve got the highest persuasion rates in elections at the lowest cost, according to experts. The Working America Education Fund is a sister organization to Working America that is specifically focused on educational issues relating to the economy and its impact on working families.

We are asking volunteers to send personal letters or postcards to Working America members and general public targets. Our communication with these folks starts with the personal and societal impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, as it’s an issue that has touched everyone and provides a good launch point for building a bond. We will continue to build on these relationships through staff-led communications and work to make up ground that is being lost by our inability to conduct door-to-door canvassing right now.

The objective of this effort is to shift the issue priorities of working-class people away from fear-mongering-based threats and toward a focus on the common good. By emphasizing our own personal health care stories, we build connections with others through shared experiences and elevate the importance of health care in our recipients’ minds. This then becomes the lens through which these folks interpret new information and make decisions. We’ve seen these letters about COVID-19 increase concern about managing this public health crisis by 4.5%, creating a population ready to tackle the big problems we’re facing and our leadership is ignoring.

 

How to get started

Through your activism, you are joining together with Working America members who have volunteered to help in a critical mission of amplifying working families’ voices and creating change on everyday economic issues. Not a member yet yourself? Join us here!

  1. Sign up to be a volunteer with us by going to workam.org/M2MVolunteer. You’ll be asked for basic contact information, as well as how many voters you’re up for contacting and to e-sign our volunteer agreement. We’ll follow up via email to provide you with a Google spreadsheet listing the voters you should contact. Now you can get writing!

  2. Writing your letters or postcards. You may choose to write letters or postcards — or start with one and switch halfway through. As you’ll see below, each has advantages and disadvantages. The letters will be faster to complete because you’re only hand-addressing the envelope, whereas the postcards will be completely handwritten. Alternatively, the postcards are 20-30 cents less expensive per item than the letters. Since volunteers are donating not only their time, but also the materials, some may prefer to send postcards. Both options — handwritten postcards and hand-addressed envelopes with typed letters — are effective at achieving our goal of deepening relationships with the voters who need to hear from us.

The basic outline of each letter or postcard is pre-written and will be emailed to you when you receive your list of members to contact. The elements included in our template actions are important to create consistency for the experiments we’ll be conducting to determine the impact of our efforts, maintain Working America’s written “voice” and brand and ensure that we’re including the elements that have been empirically proven to be effective.

A critical piece of the letters and postcards is adding a personal touch. We’ll achieve this by hand-addressing the mail, as well as by you including one to two sentences about how you’re also impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Focus on your own personal experiences and those of your family and community. Keep your comments centered on the issue at hand, not on politicians or the elections. Do not engage make any comments about supporting or opposing any candidates at any level of the ballot.

 

Getting the materials

You’re welcome to use whatever you already have on hand for this effort. The recommendations below are for folks who would need to purchase additional supplies to take part or simply want suggestions for what others are using.

What you’ll need to send letters:

  • Pen

  • Printer and paper

AND

  • Envelopes (size 10 fits a standard trifold 8.5”x11” piece of paper)

    • Most office supply stores offer these for around 10 cents per envelope, depending on the size of package, such as these at Office Depot.

  • Stamps

    • Stamp are 55 cents each or $11 for a book. Click here to visit the U.S. Postal Service website to purchase stamps.

OR

  • Pre-stamped envelopes from the USPS

    • The USPS also offers pre-stamped envelopes for 69 cents each, or 63 cents each for 500. Click here to order pre-stamped envelopes from the USPS website.

 

What you’ll need to send postcards:

  • Pen

AND

  • Postcards

    • The USPS will accept postcards 3.5”-4.25” by 5”-6”, if you happen to have a collection of unused postcards at home.

    • Please use something without any kind of political or electoral message (including nonpartisan messages such as “VOTE”). Instead, a blank postcard or anything with a wildlife, art, nature, etc., is ideal.

  • Stamps

    • The cost of a postcard stamp is 35 cents or $7 for a book. Click here to visit the USPS website to purchase postcard stamps.

OR

  • Pre-stamped postcards from the USPS

    • The USPS offers pre-stamped postcards for 39 cents each, or $3.90 for a pack of 10. Click here to order pre-stamped postcards from the USPS website.

 

Send and follow-up

You can send the letters and postcards as soon as you finish each one, or as a batch when you’ve completed your list. We’ll be doing rounds of research to fine-tune this program as we go, so you’ll receive a deadline for mailing your items when you get your list, typically about three to four weeks from when you sign up.

If you’re sending letters:

Once you’ve tailored your letter template with your personal experience, print them out and sign each with just your first name. For the salutation, a simple “Dear [first name]” is what we recommend. Leave the document blank after “Dear” and hand write in the voter’s first name on your letter [Alternatively, if you’re tech-savvy, you’re welcome to do a mail merge and have each voter’s first name typed in your letter.]

You’ll then hand-address the envelopes, using the Working America office address outlined at the bottom of your template letter. There’s no need to include a name above the return address. Once you drop them in the mail locally, please track which voters you’ve mailed a letter to on the Google spreadsheet you received by checking the box next to their name.

If you’re sending postcards:

Write a draft of your postcard and make sure it fits in the space provided, leaving room to address the card to your voters. Then, handwrite your postcards and address each. For postcards, there’s no need to include a return address. As for the salutation, a simple “Dear [first name]” is what we recommend.

Send a picture of one of your postcards to [email protected] so we can capture an example of what we’re sending to our members. Please track which voters you’ve mailed a postcard to on the Google spreadsheet you received by checking the box next to their name.

 

Recruit Others

Once you’ve gotten a hang of how volunteering works, share our sign-up link (workam.org/M2MVolunteer) with friends, family, co-workers, fellow congregants, and neighbors!

 

Sign up now workam.org/M2MVolunteer