Political Mailings

Hello all,

I'm not sure if i'm in the right thread. I may have an opportunity to tap into the political mailing arena. I was honest with the client, letting them know that I have never done political mailings before, but he is still open to giving me a shot. Does anyone have any insight they are willing to share. I was googling looking for info and there's isn't much out there, so I'm hoping to get some insight from people who are actually doing this so I will know if this is something I can do. I'm willing to travel to learn and see things up close. I do have a couple of konica machies. My business is struggling right now, so this could be a great opportunity for us if we can handle it, but I want to be honest with them and with myself. Thanks
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
Before diving into the nuances of political mailings, have you done bulk mailing at all? That would help us know what level you're already at.
 

wonderings

Well-known member
Nothing all that complex about them, at least from what I have done. Depending on what the intent is and if it is an election or if this is just informational, or for raising funds. You would need to talk to a mail house if you are not capable of doing this yourself. They will be able to guide you and get you info for everything that goes along with that. In Canada we have different indicia for different types of mailings. These different indicia have different prices per piece as well as other differences, again a good mailing house will be able to get you the info you need as you really should be talking to them before you try and guide your client into what is needed or not needed for a mailer. Communicating with them really is key as you can cost your client thousands if something is done incorrectly when the actual mail drop happens.
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
Not much different than any other mailings, just a little more time-sensitive. Canidates seem to think they will get more votes, if their piece is the last piece the voter sees in the mail box before going to the polls.

A couple of things:

1) As both Jwheeler & wonderings mentioned, you do need some background in doing mailings, in general, before you proceed. If you've never done mailings before, you need to contact a mail house.

2) In most states, your customer will need to pay upfront, in advance, for the print & mail services, including the postage. This is usually a compliance issue with your board of elections. It creates transparency, and, eliminates the possibility of an "under the table, off the books" campaign contribution. (i.e. "I'm going to invoice you, but, just don't pay it and I'll write it off").

3) If you a familiar with doing mail, when you fill out the postal forms, there is a block you will check signifying that this is political mail.

4) The mail is typically "Presort Standard" (Marketing Mail) unless your customer is a registered PAC (Political Action Committee) with a non-profit permit in which case it would mail at the non-profit rate.

5) The mail preparation is just like any other pre-sort standard advertising mail except that you will attach a red "Political Mail" tag to each tray. You can get them from the USPS. When the USPS sees the tag, it lets them know that this mail gets expedited treatment much like First Class Mail. (The post office knows which side their bread is buttered on - it's politicians that either approve or disapprove their rate increases)

Hope this helps
 
I have done Direct mail with post cards, but they have mentioned stuffing envelopes with invitations. I guess that's wear the real question is. I will start searching for a mail house here. I'm in Chicago.
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
I have done Direct mail with post cards, but they have mentioned stuffing envelopes with invitations.
You'll need an inserting machine. There's a wide range out there from table-top all-in-one folder/inserter/sealers, to big floor model swing-arm models. However, investing in a new machine for a single account, especially a temporary account, is not a good idea. I think you have the right idea with doing the printing, but outsourcing the mailing portion to a mail house. I worked at a print shop where we got along just fine doing that for years until we had enough consistent business that we invested in our own equipment. Talk to the mail house first to see what their needs/requirements are.
 

rcreveli

Well-known member
Political mailings aren't any more difficult then regular bulk mail. Whoever provides your mail software should be able to help you check the correct buttons. You get the red political tags from the post office. We regularly hand stuff envelopes up to a qty of 2,000.
 

pdan

Well-known member
Hello all,

I'm not sure if i'm in the right thread. I may have an opportunity to tap into the political mailing arena. I was honest with the client, letting them know that I have never done political mailings before, but he is still open to giving me a shot. Does anyone have any insight they are willing to share. I was googling looking for info and there's isn't much out there, so I'm hoping to get some insight from people who are actually doing this so I will know if this is something I can do. I'm willing to travel to learn and see things up close. I do have a couple of konica machies. My business is struggling right now, so this could be a great opportunity for us if we can handle it, but I want to be honest with them and with myself. Thanks
The age old caveat - get paid up front for political work.
 

namelessentity

Well-known member
I dunno if it's a California thing, but damn near every political mailing went away for us because everyone wants a union bug now. Not complaining, since political clients are the worst, but you might want to not get too invested before you realize you can't print anything because they want to support union shops.
 

AP90

Well-known member
I dunno if it's a California thing, but damn near every political mailing went away for us because everyone wants a union bug now. Not complaining, since political clients are the worst, but you might want to not get too invested before you realize you can't print anything because they want to support union shops.
I think thats more or less 1 party that does it like that, and CA is heavy on that party. Without getting political, we've only had a handful of candidates' campaigns ask about the union bug. All of those have been blue. Ive also been able to convince some of them when I say we are woman and minority owned to forego the union bug as well.
 
I dunno if it's a California thing, but damn near every political mailing went away for us because everyone wants a union bug now. Not complaining, since political clients are the worst, but you might want to not get too invested before you realize you can't print anything because they want to support union shops.
He did ask if I was in a union, and I told him I was not but he's still giving me a shot at some of the work. One was 18k pieces and another was more than that.
 

TJPrinter

Well-known member
Same as everyone is saying here. Political mailings are no different than other mailings, just a red tag on all the trays and a designation of political on entry. The union bug issue can usually be solved by the candidate explaining to the union that you’re a small local business.

If you haven’t been doing many presorted mailings then jumping to 18,000 pieces could go wrong very quickly and politicians usually wait until the last minute. I would suggest talking to a local mail house to outsource the job. Many of the larger mail houses now do a considerable amount of printing and can handle the entire job, not like the old days when you had to supply everything for the job.

The other issue with larger mailing jobs is where you’ll be submitting your mailing. Are you close enough to a destination sectional center facility to take advantage of postal discounts? If not, then a mailing of 18,000 pieces would add almost $500 to the postage for the job. Not a bad idea to talk to your insurance agent to find out if your policy has a printer’s errors/emissions clause just in case something goes wrong with a large mailing.

If you’re looking for more work have you considered promoting EDDM? It’s a nice way to create more work and pick up a few new customers and you don’t need to invest in any new software or equipment.
 

SoggyWinter

Well-known member
The USPS Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) will walk mailers through every detail of paperwork, price calculation, permit imprint, etc. I'd recommend reaching out to them for help with those topics. As for the printing, I don't think we have enough details to advise you on taking the jobs- ie, what models of press you have, the size of the postcards, and turn around time from receiving final art to when you need to mail the pieces. MAKE SURE that you put the political mail tags on your trays, especially if you are sending an EDDM job. I've had non-political-tagged EDDM mailings sit for up to three weeks before being distributed due to either staffing or bad attitudes or both.

I have never been asked about union membership by a political campaign.
 

keith1

Well-known member
I have never been asked about union membership by a political campaign.
I (we) would sometimes be queried about union membership by customers. Not just political types either. What ultimately drove the importance of union membership, or not, was the price.
Same goes for the use of recycled paper. Customers would be all over the importance of using 100% recycled, until they learned of the cost difference. I've personally had people running for political office (& others) request that we add 'recycled paper' onto their piece whether it was recycled or not. We would add the 'recyclable' logo rather than the 'recycled' logo. Very few knew the difference, and appeared pleased with their supposed deceitfulness.
For the record, I'm all for unions but fact is, very few union print shops remain.
 

Craig

Well-known member
I (we) would sometimes be queried about union membership by customers. Not just political types either. What ultimately drove the importance of union membership, or not, was the price.
Same goes for the use of recycled paper. Customers would be all over the importance of using 100% recycled, until they learned of the cost difference. I've personally had people running for political office (& others) request that we add 'recycled paper' onto their piece whether it was recycled or not. We would add the 'recyclable' logo rather than the 'recycled' logo. Very few knew the difference, and appeared pleased with their supposed deceitfulness.
For the record, I'm all for unions but fact is, very few union print shops remain.
We are one of those few union shops. Only in it because years ago no one liked the other union shop in town and we were begged by a few locals to join. Really it's as useless as boobs on a bullfrog other than a select few who even know what a union label is.

One thing I do with political mailings is make the client supply the list. Nothing worse than picking the wrong data. Most will go through the voter registration and give you all the D's, or R's and I's. You'll get every registered voter at that house so make sure duplicates are removed or the complaints will fly. Also many candidates will go for likely voters. Lately we have been treating Absentee voters like a separate campaign, especially for a general election.
 

keith1

Well-known member
Only in it because years ago no one liked the other union shop in town and we were begged by a few locals to join. Really it's as useless as boobs on a bullfrog. . .
Membership often permits a company to attract the best talent thanks to decent benefits & wages. But that's a different thread.
 

shochberg

New member
Hi,
I've been directly involved in political mailings for 30 years or so. In general the advice above is correct. In addition to the red "political mailing" tags which need to go on the trays, there is also a checkbox on the USPS postage statement form that you need to check. USPS logs political mailings as they come in, or at least they are supposed to.
Also, you might want to offer your client Informed Visibility tracking so they will know that the mail is moving through USPS.

Happy to visit with you if you have other questions, either here or offline.

Scott
Postage Saver Software
scott@savepostage.com
 

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