Personal outreach

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Personal communication like letters and phone calls are very effective for influencing anyone from club leaders to politicians.

See also: Activism Guide

Letter Writing

Good old fashioned snail-mail is super-effective! Especially hand-written mail and the volume of mail. As letters mount up on an issue, it will achieve greater importance. At the national level, one letter is considered to represent thousands of people’s opinions. The ratio declines as you move down the government hierarchy, but at the municipal level, fewer people write, so the letters still have clout.

Your letter does not have to be typed. Handwriting is fine. So is word processing. The key is that your letter is original and not recognizable as a pre-printed message. ALWAYS SIGN YOUR LETTERS. If sent by mail, include your address for their response.

Your letter does not have to be technical. You do not have to know everything about an issue to write and express your opinion. It does have to be clear. State explicitly what you want them to do. Include a specific question requesting her or his response. If the response misses the point or is inadequate, write again. Remember, at the federal level, a staff person in the bureaucracy writes the response. The actual politician may not even see your letter. Why persist? Because as the number of letters add up, the issue is given greater importance. Sometimes you are even able to educate the bureaucracy, or alert the politician to the fact that the staff has him or her signing inaccurate letters.

See: Sample letter