Case Studies

Focused data, real results.

How to Get a Townwide Slate of Candidates Elected

Game Plan:

  • Design 4/1 Rack Cards early on for all candidates to hand out in front of supermarkets, farmer's markets, post offices, county fairs, rail trails, malls, street festivals, church dinners, etc.
  • Design 4/4 (full color) Door Hangers to have volunteers (not candidates) go door-to-door during the day vs. the evening. Hit as many doors as possible.
  • Use CRST's (Cornerstone Services') proprietary Board of Election Datafilter to run mailing scenarios and profile target groups.
  • First Mailing: Hit all "Low Prime" Voting Households with a full-color 6" x 11" Meet the Candidates Card. Here, we define Low Prime to be all households voting at least 1x in past 3 years. It is important to keep such cards simple; and, we always use high resolution images of the candidates. Release timing here would be the last week in September or the first week in October.
  • Second Mailing Wave - the Attack Waves: 1 to 3 individual candidate mailings get sent during the month of October. Cards are sent to the voting "middle" using targeted profiling, such as selecting active "Prime Voters" (i.e. households must have voted at least 1x in past 2 years). Here, we are consciously trying to reach the hearts and minds of the active No-Party-listeds [NOPs] and Independence Voters, and even perhaps the GOP or Democratic base in some instances. Such cards can also be "issue" driven cards if there are regional or townwide issues at hand. They should, again, be short and sweet and say one or two things substantive about an individual candidate, his/her accomplishments and qualifications, as well as one or two broad-based, post-election intentions. Preferred card sizes are 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 6" x 9 or 6" x 11" and should include solid images. Release timing should be 4 - 5 days apart for multiple waves.
  • Third or Final Wave: Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Cards: Release postcards to Prime or High Prime voters. Simple card on 5 1/2" x 8 1/2 or 4" x 6" size, black ink only on bright yellow cardstock. It is a reminder of why it is important to show up and potentially where to vote. These cards show up as late as possible, typically 3 - 4 dates before Election Day.


A well-thought townwide political mailing campaign will work, but it works best when the candidates actually pitch in and show themselves in public. It is not necessary, or even preferred, to have candidates go door-to-door. Rather, they need to take advantage of public and free marketing opportunities such as local newspaper profiles/interviews, public events appearance, local radio shows, meet-and-greet at high traffic public locations.

Expected Result:

1 + 1 = 3. A well orchestrated campaign such as this give your town line the best possible shot. When combining resources jointly as part of a slate of candidates, it is much easier to amortize the costs and reach greater public awareness through early planning and coordination.

Fail-Safe Fundraising Approach to Raise Maximum for Local Non-Profits

Game Plan:

  • Clarify your foundation's public message; get specific about the organizational value to the community; explain briefly the critical need for community support including the importance for the recipient to give immediately. No appeal letter should be more than 500 words. Use 1 - 3 B/W or full-color (preferred) pictures.
  • Ask Cornerstone's Project Management area to design an 8 1/2" x 11" appeal letter as well as a remittance envelope and mailing envelope. The appeal letter should be full color, but may be static print (non-personalized). The #10 mailing envelope should have some color on it as well as have a logo or unique design.
  • Use CRST proprietary Real Property Datafilters and/or other data sources to reach an audience within a targeted area. Note that many targeted areas for libraries, PBAs, Fire Departments, community foundations, etc. are not conveniently within ZIP Code areas. Therefore, getting expert guidance regarding creating a Master List is just as important as the content of the appeal letter. We do not recommend using income verified data for such appeals.
  • At no charge, have Cornerstone (CRST) get you USPS Non-Profit approved for non-profit mailings to avail the lowest postage rates.
  • Release the mailing, and be sure that future releases are close to the same time each year. In general, it does not have to be in the late fall/early winter season as long as you are consistent.
  • Follow-up Thank You cards/Notes. So many not-for-profits forget to do this. Have Cornerstone design and release for you monthly waves of thank you cards. This a low-cost action that generates tremendous goodwill for the organization from the donors; further, it helps create a solid base upon which future appeals may be made.


Many not-for-profits have compelling causes, but their messages aren't clear because they didn't distill the appeal into a simple, briefly worded letter with select and recognizable images. Further, they often don't use the right data list, thereby mitigating the intended result.


Donors will reward non-profits for a clear appeal letter that has a call to action and can relay value back to the community.

Result: We helped double the endowment of the New Paltz PBA.

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