Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Letter Writing: Letters to Politicians

Writing letters to politicians (or others with the power to affect change) can be  great way to make your voice heard- and action taken! Though many feel email can be quicker, it is more likely to be deleted (or labelled spam!) before ever being read. A letter will, eventually, make it to the intended person’s desk.  They show more effort and therefore will have more weight. Here are some tips to make your letter to a politician more effective and likely to affect the change you want.

First- focus your topic to write about one specific topic per letter. If you write about too many issues or ideas your purpose will get lost and you will not be able to achieve the depth needed to make your arguments sound.


More than one person could be writing a letter as part of a campaign. You could write one letter that everyone signs, which should be typed, or each person can write their own letter to the same person on the same topic. In that case, the letters should be handwritten, as they show a more personal touch.


Letters to Aussie MPs - No Clean Feed Please.
photo by Donna Benjiman
Research the person you are writing too- not only will you then be double checking that this is the man or woman you want to spend time on, but you can find out what their voting record is like, and what issues matter to them. Do they tend to vote affirmatively to be fiscally conservative? Do they care about education? Natural resources? If writing to politicians, find out what committees they sit on; they will have both greater knowledge and greater influence in those areas. It might also be worth it to find out a bit about the politician's personal background, such as whether they have children, and if they grew up in a certain area, as these things can influence people’s outlook.


Once that’s done,  you’re ready to  start writing your letters.  Use a formal, business letter format, which includes your address on the letter itself. This can be helpful as envelopes can be lost! Remember, if the person you writing to is a legislator, they are entitled to be called “The Honorable _________.” Even if you do not agree with the person’s politics or actions, this is a courtesy you need to  use in your greeting.


The first paragraph introduces why you are writing. If you are writing about a specific bill or other piece of legislation or document, make sure to identify it according to it’s number, so the legislature will know what you are specifically writing about and which legislation to vote on.


The next few paragraphs are where you support your request with compelling arguments and evidence.  There are likely very compelling reasons you are writing to get something done- these could be an anecdote to share, to use as a reason to vote. However, most people respond best to arguments that have been tailored to what they feel is important. This is where all your hard work researching will pay off. If you’ve done that, you know what the politician finds important and can write with that “angle” in mind. Also, if you have an expertise on the issues (you are, for example, in the medical field and are writing about a medical issue), this is the place to mention that!


Be polite and show the person respect. End by thanking the person for something, anything, - whether it is for their support or their time in reading the letter, if nothing else.



How to organize a Letter Writing Campaign

LETTER WRITING SERIES: THANK YOU NOTES | PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE | LOVE LETTERS | SYMPATHY LETTERS | CONGRATULATORY LETTERS | POSTCARDS | LETTERS OF APPRECIATION | CORRESPONDENCE CHESS | GET WELL CARDS | LETTERS TO SICK CHILDREN | INVITATIONS | HOLIDAY LETTERS | LETTERS TO SANTA| LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | CIRCLE LETTERS | LETTERS TO POLITICIANS | WRITING TO ADVICE COLUMNS | THE LETTER WRITING GAME | PENPAL LETTERS | LETTER OF COMPLAINT | COVER LETTERS | LETTERS TO PRISONERS | OPEN LETTERS | LETTERS TO FUTURE YOURSELF | LETTERS OF APOLOGY | "OPEN WHEN" LETTERS | FAN MAIL | GOOD BYE LETTER |

2 comments:

  1. Oh, I love this post! Although I do know others do this, I'm always glad to see when people take action :) Good for you!

    ReplyDelete

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