Writing elected officials and corporate executives

Elected officials value your opinion since you are a voter and they want to keep your vote. In one survey ranking 20 different factors influencing congressional opinion, a spontaneous letter from a home-state constituent ranked number one! Most elected officials believe that one letter actually represents many more voters who feel the same way but have not taken the time to express their opinion.

Following a personal letter’s influence on congressional opinion were a personal telephone call, an email, a postcard, and near the bottom, a form letter.

Likewise, most companies value your opinion since you are a paying customer and they want to keep your business. Companies view one letter as representing the opinion of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others so your letter is important

Common requirements

Letter writing is simple. By following the steps outlined below anyone can write effective letters to elected officials and corporate executives.

Be legible

Typed letters are good, but handwritten letters are very acceptable if they are legible. If it’s hard to read, they probably won’t try! Don’t be overly concerned about using fancy stationary. A letter neatly written on a legal pad is just as effective as a letter written on expensive letterhead.

Be original

As much as possible, the content of the letter should be written in your own words.

Be sincere

Don’t worry about writing a "proper" letter. Just word the letter as if you were talking to your next door neighbor or close friend. It is what you say and not how you say it that is important.

Perspective

Do not approach your subject from a religious perspective. By doing so you will give opportunity for the opposition to say that you are trying to impose your particular religion or morals on others.

Be timely

If possible, time your letter to arrive mid-week when the mail deliveries are lower.

Be polite

Be firm but courteous. Anger, sarcasm and accusations will not win any points with your reader.

Be Complimentary

Commend them on issues or actions when you can.

Be Brief

Cover only one topic. Keep the letter to one page if possible. If you wish to write concerning other issues, write a separate letter.

Be specific

Refer to bills by number or specific problem areas whenever possible. Clearly state the action you would like the reader to take.

Be informed

Get your facts straight. Give at least one reason (more if possible) for your request. Quote the experts or include the actual data to help prove your point.

Ask for an Answer

Ask the recipient to state his/her view on the subject and what action he/she intends to take. If appropriate, send a copy to the local newspaper "letter to the editor" section asking others to support your idea.

Include Return Address

Be sure to include your name, address, and phone number, if desired. They can’t contact you if they can’t find you.

Send a Follow-up

Send a follow-up letter if you get an unfavorable or no response.

 

To contact your a member of Congress go to www.senate.gov or www.house.gov .

Visit AFA's Legislative Action Center at http://www3.capwiz.com/afanet/home/  .