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In every Congressional office, there comes a time each year when outreach is restricted.  The US Franking Office mandates that all unsolicited mass communications must cease for 90 days in advance of any election in which the Member’s name will appear on the ballot.  This can be a stressful time as the business of government must go on and communications staffers have to find creative ways to get their Members’ messages out.  We’re here to help. 
 
First off, it’s important to know that the blackout rules do not require you to suspend all communications with your constituents!  There are several clearly defined scenarios in which communication is permitted.  We’ll help give you some ideas for how you can communicate effectively—and within the rules— during your blackout period.
 
Sending 499’s
Unsolicited mailings must be restricted to less than 500 pieces of mail (regardless of medium) during your blackout period.  In other words, mailings in quantities of 499 or less are fair game!  In IQ4, you can generate 499’s from any contact list in your database with just one click.
 
Job Openings
If your office is has a job opening during a blackout period, you are free to post recruitment ads in order to attract applicants.
 
Direct Responses
If your office is contacted directly by a constituent (through any medium) blackout rules permit you to respond and engage in one-on-one communication with them.  IQ consolidates all your email, social media, US Mail and phone calls in one application, allowing you to track and respond to any direct communication with ease.
 
Email Your Subscribers
Communications blackout rules allow you to send eNewsletters to anyone in your district who has opted in to your newsletters.  As long as they’re subscribers, you’re free to keep them informed and up to date on how your office is serving them. 
 
See the PDF below for a printable calendar that illustrates each state’s blackout periods.  And as always, contact the IQ team any time for questions on how to build 499s, eNewsletter best practices and more—we’d love to hear from you!

Related Files: 

2014-Franking-Blackout-Dates-Cobranded.pdf