Host A Virtual Letter Writing Party
Increase voter turnout by writing Vote Forward letters
Swing Left is working with Vote Forward to write letters to voters from home and host Virtual Letter Writing Parties. Handwritten letters encouraging the recipient to vote have been proven, through repeated experiments, to increase the likelihood that a voter will turn out in an election. They are more effective at turning out voters than handwritten postcards.
Letter writing is an easy first action for new volunteers to take and a great way to make an impact no matter where you live. This toolkit will help you run virtual letter writing parties so we can continue to connect, build grassroots communities, write letters and make a difference!
Virtual letter writing parties are similar to in-person letter writing parties, except for two differences:
- Letter writers will need to sign up for Vote Forward and print letters on their own.
- You’ll need to plan for how volunteers gather virtually by remote video/audio conferencing.
Our Virtual Letter Writing Party Guide will walk you through everything you need to know to have a successful party. We’ll help you choose a video/audio conferencing tool and point out the key steps to help volunteers engage in letter writing parties in a virtual environment—even if it’s their first time! Review the steps below and then dive into the guide to start planning your party. You can even review a recording from a past Virtual Letter Writing Host training sessions.
- Sign up for a Vote Forward account as soon as possible. It may take several days for approval.
- Create an event listing for your virtual party here to allow folks to RSVP. If you are part of Swing Left's college program, post your event here. Please create a letter writing party on Mobilize each time you host a party so we can prepare to have enough names for you and your volunteers.
- Use our host guide to plan your virtual event. This guide walks through a virtual letter writing party step-by-step, including how to choose and prepare for hosting your party on an audio or video conferencing tool. There are even some video conference resources that Swing Left offer you for free on a first-come, first serve basis. You can also review a virtual letter writing party host training recording.
- Print the letters you plan to write during the party and learn the letter writing process. You can walk through how to write letters on Vote Forward’s How-To page.
- Begin recruiting your friends and your network to join you.
- Let volunteers know how to prepare to participate in your virtual event.They will need to know how to sign up for Vote Forward, print letters and join your event using your chosen audio/video conferencing tool. The host guide walks through how to make sure your volunteers are ready to go on party day!
- Follow the instructions in the agenda in the host guide to lead your event.
- Thank everyone and remind them what they should do with the letters after the call. Ask volunteers to host their own virtual party!
- Follow-up with your volunteers by email as described in the host guide.
- Store your letters in a safe place and update your Vote Forward account by clicking the buttons on the website to indicate that you have “prepared” the letters. You may be writing letters to send in October so make sure you have a safe place to store them and put a reminder in your calendar! Check out our host guide for suggestions on how to keep track of letters in the meantime. (Didn't get through all your letters? Drop Vote Forward a line and we'll put them back in the queue.)
- Remind your party volunteers a day before the Vote Forward mail-on date to send their letters and update Vote Forward. Check out the Mobilize guide to learn how to email and/or download the list of party attendees.
- Mail your letters on the date Vote Forward assigns for this campaign!
- Pat yourself on the back—you're awesome!
- Watch out for the most common errors that volunteers make: addressing the letters to the wrong voter (the voter’s information is at the bottom of each page), using their own return address as opposed to the one listed on the bottom of each letter, and stuffing the envelope with the wrong letter. Volunteers can review each letter after they write a full batch to ensure all the letters are correct.
- Volunteers should plan to mail your completed letters on the date provided by Vote Forward for the campaign. Remind volunteers multiple times where to find this date and make sure they understand they shouldn’t send the letters on another day.
What will each attendee need for your virtual party?