Use Your Voice
Use Your Voice: Letter-writing Campaigns That Work!
Writing letters to governments and businesses is a great way to be heard and to create change, whether in your own neighbourhood, or a thousand miles away. And letter campaigns are one of the most common, popular and effective ways of getting large numbers of people involved in an issue. Letter-writing campaigns are easy to organize and are a non-confrontational way of acting on an issue. Concerned about something? Want someone to do something about it? Here are some steps to get your letter-writing campaign started:
1. Outline your goal. What are your concerns? What actions do you want taken? Do you want to raise awareness or public outcry about your issue by writing letters-to-the-editor in magazines and newspapers? Do you want to tell your government, or another government, that you support or do not support an action they have taken by writing to a specific representative? Do you want to object to a corporation's practices, or salute it for being a responsible corporate citizen, by writing to their President or CEO? While vague letters of support or statements of opinion have value, a concentrated campaign is more likely to affect change if it presents a concrete action or set of policy recommendations.
2. Decide on the target of your letters. Identify the people who are in a position to bring about that action. This information will be important not only to the people writing the letters but also to those who are meant to read them.
3. Write a sample letter. This may be a loose set of guidelines that letter-writers can follow, or a completed letter that people simply sign and post, but give your letters some common threads so that they can be recognized as a campaign. Include any relevant history or other background information (but try to limit the letter to a page or two – list a website if necessary), how you'd like the situation to be changed and the action you wish to see taken. If you are organizing on a larger scale, you may want to think about having pre-addressed postcards of your letter printed that people can mail. You might even want to give your letter-writing group a name that your audience can recognize!
4. Promote! Promote! Promote! If you are launching a letter-writing campaign, it is essential that you have access to as many potential letter-writers as possible. Decide on a distribution strategy for your letter. This might include placing notice of the letter on your website (and the letter itself, of course!), mentioning it at public events including your annual general meeting, emailing it out to your friends and network, and putting a sample letter in an organization’s newsletter.
5. Write, write, write! Write as many letters as you can, and try to make them the hard copy, old-fashioned, mailed kind. While faxes, phone calls and emails get your point across, because they take less time and have to be handled by fewer people once they reach their destination, their impact is lessened. With a posted letter, someone has to sort it, open it, and, at the very least, carry it to the recycling bin and take it out or pay for it to be taken out. It's difficult to hit the "delete" button on four hundred envelopes sitting in your mailbox! In many countries postage is free for mail sent to parliamentarians, and there may even be legislation in place that requires elected representatives to send some kind of reply. Even if it's a form letter, they or someone they pay, has at least to print and sign the letter, stuff it in an envelope, and drop it in the mail.
6. Follow-up! If you fail to get a response of any sort from the corporation, individual, politician, ministry or institution you targeted, write another letter and let them know that as an accountable institution, they owe you a response, and that as a responsible citizen, you expect a response. Make sure you track the results of your campaign and report on it to those in your group, network or organization.
7. Congratulate yourselves for your efforts to date! Then look ahead to the next steps you might want to take.
CONTACT | NEWS | ARCHIVE | MAP | SITE MAP
|© 2013 Pacific Peoples' Partnership||Powered by VSIP SMS|