How to Write an Election Campaign Letter
An organized letter-writing campaign can provide a boost in your fundraising efforts and appeal directly to constituents for votes. Write letters to the editors of your local papers, enjoin your volunteers to stuff envelopes and direct your call-to-action letters to voters. Post letters on your website, send them in email blasts and include the content of your letters in a regular newsletter to voters.
State Your Objective
Be clear about the position that you’re seeking at the very top of the letter. While you may use the letter to highlight your experience and your reasons for running for office, don’t make readers wait to find out which spot you’re aiming for. Write about your personal involvement in the issues being discussed in the upcoming election, and let readers know where you stand. Develop a campaign letter that’s between 250 and 500 words that can be posted on your website and copied and mailed electronically and by postal mail.
Include a Call to Action
Whether you are writing to ask for votes or money, specify in the letter why you are writing. Place a call to action in every letter. Write “Vote for me on Nov. 4,” or “Support my campaign to end corruption by sending your contribution to,” or “Click here to make a donation.” Provide contact information and clear instructions to your readers. Implement a strategy to invoke immediate action in your letters that tells readers the importance of acting now, especially when you use the letter for fundraising.
Highlight Competitors’ Differences
Unlike a marketing letter in which a business doesn’t mention its main competitors, you should point out the primary differences between you and other candidates vying for the same position. Instead of using names, however, refer to them as your opponents. Refer to examples of poor decisions made by the current office-holder if you’re opposing an incumbent, and mention the highlights of your tenure if you are the incumbent.
Study Newspaper Guidelines
To increase the odds that your letters and letters from you supporters will get published in newspaper opinion pages, send letters that meet with the publication’s guidelines. Most newspapers, for example, prefer to print letters that are between 200 and 400 words. They will not print glaring endorsements unless the writer also presents a compelling argument. Send letters only to those papers that are within your geographical area, because editors don’t publish letters to the editor that aren’t targeting their readers. While many newspapers only allow one letter from each candidate for primaries and one more for elections, you may get more published if you bring up a controversial topic that requires a response.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."