What We've Found
easy to use and a relatively inexpensive format to reach large numbers of
people. Mailing postcards can be so easy, it is important to ask if they will be
worthwhile. Will it be read? Will it be returned? For postcards that are giving
information, we find they work best if used in conjunction with other tools such
releases, posters and flyers,
meetings and workshops.
Regardless of what kind of postcard you are using, keep the format in mind:
postcards are small so the message must be short and concise.
Just the Facts
There are two basic types of postcard mailings: one is a postcard a person
receives from a project team or organization and the second is a postcard a
person returns to a project team or organization.
Postcards that people receive can be invitations to events and activities
or reminders such as asking the recipient to complete and return a survey
announcement about the availability of new publications or reports could have
photographs of the covers, brief descriptions about them, and where to get
Other types of postcards require action. Typically they are included in a
package of information such as a letter, a brochure
or some other document that explains the purpose of the mailing. Because the
recipient is being asked to give information such as fill-in-the-blanks or check
boxes, the postcard should be self-stamped and self-addressed to facilitate easy
return. The request may be for names to include on a mailing list or recruiting
volunteers, pre-registering for a conference or workshop, or a simple opinion
survey to learn the degrees of support for, or opposition to, a particular
project or action.
Only use postcards to solicit opinions if the project or question can be
thoroughly explained with an accompanying brochure or letter, or when the
projects has been running long enough, and has generated enough publicity, that
it can be safely assumed that most people will have well-informed
How To Do It
Determine the purposeDefinition
What is the goal of the postcard mailing? What
will be accomplished? How do postcards fit into the project’s overall public
involvement plan? These questions are applicable whether the postcards will
be used for giving information or receiving it. If it is the latter, be sure to
plan how the data will be used. People will want to see evidence that the time
they took to complete an opinion survey, no matter how brief, was taken into
2. Design and print
Good design and careful
writing can give even small postcards a big impact. Depending upon how they will
be used, the postcards may need special design considerations such as a
perforated edge to detach from a brochure or prepaid postage for return. Options
for printing postcards can range from seeking a professional to using blank
postcards designed for a computer printer. If you use your District bulk mailing
permit, the permit number can also be printed on the postcard.
Send them out
To mail them, generate labels from a mailing list. If
there are more than 200 to send out, get a permit to use bulk mail. Bulk mail
requires some extra work such as sorting by zip code (your database can be
segregated by zip code to make it easier), but the result is significant cost
savings especially for nonprofit groups. Find out more by contacting a U.S. Post
Office or your District Administrative Office. KYTC offices usually maintain an
account with the USPS for bulk mailings. If costs for postage are too
prohibitive, or there is no mailing list, another option is to place the
postcards in public places such as libraries, supermarkets, and coffee shops. Be
sure they are attached to, or placed adjacent to an explanatory flyer or
Small, double-sided printed pieces for invitations, announcements, surveys,
reminders and more.
Use It If...
- You want to keep people informed.
- You are trying to get, in writing, a sampling of public opinion to determine
the degree of support or opposition for a project or action.
- You need to collect names of people interested in the project or those who
may be willing to serve on a committee or volunteer.
Forget It If...
- You do not have a good mailing list, the budget for postage, or the means to
design, print, and assemble information packets.
- The project or action under consideration is extremely complex. While it may
be tempting to seek simple answers to difficult questions, the opinions returned
will be unusable and the project team’s credibility will be hurt.
Timing is Everything
postcards at any time throughout a project to get and give information.