Jumpstart your cause-- write a letter!
A letter writing campaign can be extremely effective for both spreading the word about your cause and getting things done. If letters are printed in the newspaper, people who had no information about the issue can learn more. Perhaps you will even spark a debate within your community and give people a forum to speak out. If you send a letter to local elected officials, and convince others to do the same, he or she may actually take action. It may be surprising, but most elected officials really do take the time to read the letters that they get from their constituents. They want to know what you think – and a handwritten letter can show that you care.
- Try to convince people to write their own letters rather than just sign a template. Let them know what key points they should mention, but suggest that they use their own language. See our “Write a letter to an elected official”  tipsheet.
- An effective letter includes these three things:
- A description of the issue in clear language.
- A concise explanation of the problem; put the issue in a context that the recipient will understand easily.
- Explain what you want the official to do about the problem, laying out the specific actions you want him or her to take on this problem.
- Consider organizing a letter writing party to ensure that people really do write the letters.
- Have a table at a public meeting, fair, or festival where people can take a moment to write (see our “How to organize an awareness campaign”  page). In either case, you need to be prepared. Be sure to bring:
- Copies of the sample letter.
- Correct addresses of newspapers.
- Correct addresses and names of lawmakers and/or company executives (whichever is appropriate).
- Envelopes with recipient addresses.
- Pens and stamps.
- Literature about your cause.
- A few volunteers who can talk about the issues with people who drop in.
- Urge everyone to write to lawmakers or company executives and newspapers. All of these avenues can make a difference.
- Keep a copy of the letter for yourself if possible. This will give you a template to work off of in the future, if you decide to run another letter writing campaign.
- Don't forget to thank people for writing the letters.