A quality educational system is vital to America’s future, and well-funded schools are poised to provide the best educations to bright young minds. Although an overwhelming majority of Americans support education, it can still be difficult to pass school levies during tough economical times. Demonstrating why money is needed and how it will be used to benefit the community is the first step – transcribing that message and delivering it in print form is the next.
Here are some print marketing strategies you can use to increase the likelihood that voters will say “yes” the next time you have a school levy on the ballot:
The right message
There are three distinct techniques for passing a school levy: 1) positive marketing; 2) negative marketing; and 3) silent marketing. Positive marketing refers to a message that touts the benefits school levy money will bring to students and community (new computer lab, continued free athletics, etc.). Negative marketing refers to a message that points out potential detriments to not passing the levy (pay to play, teacher/student ratio, cut classes, etc.). Silent marketing is employed when levy supporters believe that it will be easier to pass if only those “in the know” vote (the theory is that traditional non-voters would vote “no” and so they should not be reminded that the levy is on the ballot).
The best way? Positive marketing, bar none. While the other two types of school levy marketing might work once or twice, they will eventually incite community members and suspicions will abound. It happens all the time, so take the high road and subtly hint at negatives if you must include them at all.
The right audience
Who receives your school levy print marketing materials? Everyone in the voting school district. Again, if you’re exclusive with your mailed materials, door hangers, etc., you put your cause at great risk for devastating community backlash. Communities expect their schools to be transparent and forthcoming, and exclusive marketing does not work in the long run. Even if some citizens disagree, remember that it is far better to have them disagree with what you say than to tell everyone you’re trying to pass a bad tax under everyone’s collective noses.
The right materials
School levy success hinges on economic turbulence (or lack thereof), community support, benefits, costs and many other factors. To get your message in front of everyone, launch a full levy print marketing campaign complete with yard signs, postcards, door hangers, flyers, stickers, buttons, balloons, table tents, and brochures. Print your materials on quality paper, but if your community or school system is strapped for cash don’t choose premium. For example, instead of printing your brochures on 100-pound gloss cover paper, go with a lighter weight 80-pound gloss text which will look nearly as great but also lend the impression that you are being frugal – something that is of utmost importance to taxpayers.
The right timing
Begin marketing four to six weeks before Election Day. Send postcards one week, flyers and brochures the next, and distribute door hangers last. It can be especially beneficial to send a second round of postcards the day before the election. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with your door hangers and flyers being delivered on the same day. The show of community support through door hanger distribution can be enough to sway public opinion.
Passing new school levies and even renewal levies can be tricky, but with the right message, right audience, right print marketing materials and the right timing, you can elevate your entire community by supporting your local educational system.