A letter writing campaign is one of the most effective ways to get your message out. People who you would never otherwise meet will read about your concerns in local papers. This may invite other people to write letters to the editor, and you can begin to understand the full range of opinions in your community.
Letter writing to lawmakers also can get your message out to important officials, even those who you haven't ever met. And these letters count. Few people take the time to write
letters to lawmakers, so a handful of letters on a single issue truly can sway an important vote or decision.
Always encourage people to personalize their own letters, and not just sign a preprinted letter. Providing a sample that includes a bullet list of key points to mention makes it really easy for people to take action and to ensure that your message is being presented properly.
An effective letter will consist of four key components:
- Description of the issue in plain language.
- A concise, simple background of the problem put into context that will be easily understandable to the recipient.
- Always make an "Ask." Be clear about exactly what it is that you want the person you are writing to do about the issue. Ranting and raving is not effective communication. Be specific in the actions you desire the recipient to take on this problem and the steps to get there.
- If writing to a legislature, make sure to specifically identify yourself as a constituent and always ask for a response. If you are
Letter Writing Parties
Consider organizing a letter-writing party to ensure that people write. Have a table at a public meeting, fair, or festival where people can take a moment to write. In either case, you
need to be prepared. Be sure to bring:
- Copies of the sample letter
- Correct addresses and names of newspapers
- Correct addresses and names of elected officials (state, local, road commission)
- Envelopes with recipient addresses
- Pens and stamps
- Literature about your organization if applicable
- A few volunteers who can talk about the issues with people who drop in
Urge everyone to write to both their lawmakers and newspapers. Keep a copy for yourselves if possible and encourage people to forward along any response letters that they receive. Always thank people for writing, or for taking supplies home to write letters at another time. Also, ask people who took the time to write a letter to encourage their friends and family to do the same. Since they already took action once, it is highly likely that they will indeed help generate additional correspondences.
Online Letter Writing
As mentioned above, nothing beats a personalized handwritten letter (except of course for many personalized handwritten letters!). You may find, however, due to time or campaign strategy that an online letter-writing campaign better suites your needs. There are many free tools on the web. Below are a just a few free tools to consider when undertaking an e-letter campaign underway.
Online Letter Writing