This past weekend, we invited several of our more liberal-leaning friends over for a slightly different kind of social event: a postcard party. The purpose of this sort of gathering is to get individuals together to write their elected officials, but in a way that’s fun, social, and builds up our community.
The planning for the party was fairly straightforward. I scheduled the event for 3pm on a Sunday, so that meant I’d only need to provide light snacks and refreshments. We opted for a mimosa bar (much like our New Years Day brunch) along with iced tea, homemade salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips, chicken salad tea sandwiches, my homemade pepper jelly over cream cheese with crackers, and cookie-brownies. (The cookie brownies came from a box…baking isn’t really my forte.)
Then, there were the logistics of the postcards themselves. Assuming I’d get 10-20 people in attendance, and that the average person could write about 30 coupons in a 2-hour span, I went ahead and ordered 500 postcards from Vistaprint. (Don’t forget to check for coupon codes!) It only cost me about 10 cents per card, and here’s what they looked like:
As for the postcard designs, I found a few that were made available for free, specifically for this cause, by their designers. Others, I ordered digital downloads from Etsy, each for less than $5 a piece. I’d highly recommend this route if you decide to replicate this yourself — don’t forget to pay your artists!
Next came setting my attendees up for success. I gathered addresses for all of my area representatives at both the federal and state level (President, Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, 2 US Senators, US Representatives from our area, Texas governor, Texas Lt. Governor, Texas Senators from our area, Texas Representatives from our area, and our city mayor. I also wrote a list of “conversation starters” — ideas for what folks could write to their reps at each level. (I’ve made both of these documents publicly available on Google, in case anyone would like to use them!)
Then, I cut down an Amazon box into small pieces so that everyone could have a piece of cardboard to write on, gathered pens, printed out multiple copies of my documents, and we were ready to go!
As everyone arrived, I gave them the rundown of how to proceed: they could write up to 3 postcards to each rep, and I would collect them in three separate batches, for mailing on consecutive weeks. Guests were instructed to bring personal address labels, postcard stamps, and like-minded friends.
Midway through, I gave a quick speech of other upcoming activism opportunities, and overall I’d say the event was a huge success! We’re thinking of hosting another such party next month as well.
Postcard parties are a fun, easy, and social way to stay politically active. They don’t replace more direct activities like calling and visiting your reps or going to town halls, but if you’re unahppy with the current administration, they can be just one more way to make sure your voice is heard.