How Much of My Budget Should Go to Political Mailers?
By Margo Scott Dunn
Political Mailers Hint: It's Not as Cut and Dry as You Think
Running for office requires quite a bit of planning. We've said it before, and I'll say it again, it's important to have a campaign budget with realistic fundraising goals. But how do you know what portion of your budget should go to political mailers? Unfortunately, there's no magic number. That being said, there is an industry standard, best practice suggestion of allocating a minimum of 70% of your budget to direct voter contact. (That means everything else, from pens and office space to yard signs, should be no more than 30% of your budget.)
Do political mailers count as direct voter contact? Absolutely! While I would caution anyone away from using political mailers as their only form of direct voter contact, political mailers can be an effective tool to reach many voters.
Finding the right balance of tactics for direct voter contact is more of an art, and generally individual to your race, geography, district, local politics, budget-level and targeted voter. I think political mailers have more utility today than many people give them credit for, but they aren't the panacea that will turn your losing campaign into a winning one. Striking the right balance of door-knocking, phone calls, political mailers, events and digital ads will be unique to your situation, and may change throughout the course of your race as campaign dynamics shift and Election Day approaches.
While I can't provide you with a precise percentage of your budget to allocate toward political mailers, I can tell you that spending even one penny more on anything other than direct voter contact—no matter what anyone tells you about yard signs in your district—is a losing strategy. Political mailers will be an important part of your direct voter contact strategy, but the size of their role relative to your budget is unique to you.
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