Letter Writing Tips
Ok, you’ve got your work cutout for you, but fighting any important cause has never been easy. Thankfully, many organizations such as NHES, can help you find the information you need. Just bring your compassionate energy and follow the below tips, and soon enough you’ll be a pro!
The animals thank you.
Letter Writing and Email Tips
Contacting Government Officials
- Write only those government officials who represent you. If your representatives do not serve on a committee, etc., where an important bill or issue awaits review, write to them urging their co-sponsorship, vote, or opposition once the bill moves out of the committee.
Visit www.senate.gov for federal Senator and www.house.gov for federal Representative listings. Each website features a full listing of committees and their members. Or, visit Contacting the Congress, an online search directory by zip code.
- Prior to writing your congress members, check their position in regard to a bill or issue. Do they already sponsor the bill? Did they vote for or against it in a committee? Do they support animal issues in general? This will help you shape a letter of “laser” precision to their views on the matter. Simply visiting a legislator’s website will give you a good idea of where they stand on issues.
For locating voting records, directories and status reports, go to: capitoladvantage.com.
- Check the status of a bill. What committee is it in? Has it gone to the full floor for vote? Did it already pass or fail sometime ago?
Finding the legislative highway challenging to navigate? Don’t worry! Many organizations alert their members of a bill’s status as it passes through the legislative process—if you know the latest on a bill, then its just a matter of knowing who to contact.
To obtain copies of bills and check their status and sponsorship listing, go to: thomas.loc.gov.
- Write polite, brief emails and letters to your elected officials:
Stick to one issue or piece of legislation.
Try to keep correspondences to one page or the equivalent of.
Always follow professional format, whether by email or letter: include the date, the recipient’s full mailing address and your full mailing address.
Get to the point immediately: state the issue or legislation you are writing about in the opening paragraph. Include bill numbers and committee locations.
Briefly cite your personal interest, but do not rant or use highly emotional language. A calm, factual letter will have the most impact.
Include legitimate facts; do not exaggerate. (In reality, most animal welfare issues, unfortunately, do not need exaggeration anyway.)
Call the recipient to action: state at least once at the beginning and once at the end of the letter what you want them to do.
- If you are calling your representatives, keep the message brief and have a bulleted list of what you will say from the introduction to the closing statement to help guide your words. Because state and federal representatives are very busy, often times you will be leaving a message on the legislator’s voicemail or with an office assistant.
- These tips apply to correspondences to the leaders of the private realm as well.