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Letter Writing Tips

In our democratic society, we elect officials such as mayors and city council members on a city level; governors, state senators and representatives on the state level and presidents, senators and representatives on the national level to represent our interests, make our laws, and maintain law and order.

There are many ways of telling our politicians how we feel, ranging from protesting to calling their offices with complaints or writing letters. Elected officials are concerned about what people think because they may be voted out of office at the next election if enough people disapprove of their performance.

Expressing Your Views to Government Film Industry Decision Makers

It may seem like a small gesture, but writing a letter to an elected official or key decision-maker is one of the most effective ways of communicating the public view. While a quick, informal e-mail may seem easy, a single handwritten letter (if your writing is legible - otherwise, type it) will have much more impact.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when preparing your letter:

Composing your letter

  1. Prepare your letter in a way that reflects the importance of the issue and your message.
  2. In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and state the reason you are writing, and why it is personally relevant to you and your community. Keep the first paragraph to three sentences, at most.
  3. In the next two paragraphs, provide specific details about the issue, why it's important to you and your community, and what action you would like to see taken to resolve the issue. Try to offer a reasonable solution to the problem.
  4. Keep the letter to one page but still allow yourself to make the points that you think are most important to you and your community.
  5. If you have more than one issue, send more than one letter, keep each letter focused to one issue if at all possible.
  6. Close the letter by restating the action you would like to see taken and when, and thank them in advance for taking the action you recommend.

General Tips on Letter Writing

  1. Be respectful, but make your points clearly and very firmly.
  2. Prepare your correspondence in a way that does not threaten the security of your elected representative, staff or anyone related to him or her.
  3. Do not rant or be abusive.
  4. Be sure to spell the person's name correctly.
  5. Always remember to sign your letter. Below your signature, provide your full occupational title/position and your residential, street address, not a post office box. This is important, since politicians need to know that you live in their district or city. Also include your zip code. Make sure you put your return mailing address on the envelope as well.
  6. Send letters to your elected officials whether you voted for them or not, whether you are registered to vote or not (although you should register to vote prior to writing your letter).

Please send APA copies of any responses you receive from our elected officials, for monitoring purposes only, white-out or cover your personal information.