Tracy Walton, like many of us, felt moved to act after the 2016 election. In 2018 she hosted a few in-person gatherings for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, in support of their efforts to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated citizens. She then volunteered with the New Georgia Project, helping with the GA runoffs and doing ballot curing in GA in late 2020 through Jan.5, 2021.
When she decided to get involved with postcard/letter campaigns, she started with a simple email to people she knew – family and friends. She found 9 volunteers that way, but word spread quickly.
Reena began writing individually with Postcards To Voters and SBA campaigns. At a certain point she realized, “People I knew would be willing to do the same if the barrier of gathering blank postcards and stamps were removed.” So she put out a call to friends and neighbors with an offer to hand-deliver 100 postcards and stamps to anyone who wanted, all for simple reimbursement at cost. That weekend she dropped off 10 kits throughout Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown, and Newton!
As Tracy and Reena found more and more people who wanted to participate in writing to voters, they also found each other. Together, they developed strategies for keeping track of materials and volunteers that made it easy to keep distributing postcards as the numbers grew. “The notion of making it easier for others to write by taking care of the materials was empowering,” Reena tells us, “and teaming up with a friend who was doing the same made it all the easier!”
Tracy and Reena have some helpful tips, below, for people who are inspired by their journey and are ready to become Postcard Hosts. For those who want to start small, they recommend that you emphasize to potential volunteers “how activism solves the problem of helplessness and anxiety about the state of our government.” You can help people plug in and make it easy for them to get involved. “It is so fun to meet our writers,” says Tracy. “They are great people. The solidarity is palpable.” Swing Blue Alliance is here to help you make the best next step in your own journey.
Tracy and Reena’s tips:
- You can start small, but you’ll soon find that managing and disbursing large numbers of postcards and keeping everything organized is not as daunting as you think.
- Spreadsheets, template emails, clear communication and using the Mobilize platform will help you stay organized.
- Getting a dedicated email address and a mail chimp account to promote campaigns will make things easier.
- Our writers are “unfailingly flexible and friendly” so even if there are glitches, you’ll work them out. Some of our writers have helped us count and pack. They’ve spread the word to others. They’ve organized their own teams in their own towns or faith communities, then sent one person to pick up for the whole group. They keep us going!
- Mentors at the Swing Blue Alliance Organizer Center are always eager to help with any aspects of the process.