Why write an advocacy letter?
- To encourage a specific action or outcome on an issue (eg. breastfeeding in public)
- To discourage a specific action or outcome (eg. closing of an outpatient breastfeeding clinic)
- To remind government officials of opinions that citizens hold
- Letters ARE considered when officials prepare their votes!!!
- To praise actions taken by officials, local community groups, etc.
Who should I contact?
Anyone who can make change happen or have influence on change
Can it make a difference?
- Citizens need to express their views and take part in the decision making and change process.
- If you don’t express your opinion, that person or group may not know that your opinion exists
TEN STEPS TO WRITING AN ADVOCACY/ACTION LETTER
- Identify yourself as a constituent. Politicians are only compelled to respond to constituent mail
- Be brief and simple. Try to keep the letter to one page or two at the most
- State and report your position. Always state your position in your opening paragraph and again in the closing paragraph
- Personalize your letter. If using a form letter make changes to it and make it your own. Personalized letters carry much more weight
- Be polite and avoid ultimatums and rudeness. Everyone responds better to praise then criticism. Rudeness does little to create change
- Do not enclose additional material. These are rarely read. If you have an excellent resource you wish to share, mention it in your letter and offer to send a copy if desired
- Do not exaggerate or lie. Stick to facts and personal experiences. Fabrications could ruin your credibililty
- Make sure your message is timely.
- Send a copy of your letter to your local policy makers/CEOs/managers
- Acknowledge any response
Your name and address
Salutation (Dear ______ )
1st Paragraph: Let the reader know what your concern is.
2nd Paragraph: You need to let the reader know the importance of your concerns and any impact the concern may have on the community.
3rd Paragraph: Thank your reader for taking the time to read your letter and make sure you re-state your concern. Provide a way for him to respond to you letter. Always add that you look forward to hearing their response on the issue. Now they know you expect an answer.