How to:

How To: Write to Congress

Hand-written letters to your U.S. elected leaders are one of the most important and most impactful methods of advocating for an issue you care about. Congress tracks every hand-written letter they receive. Personal letters from constituents help educate policymakers about the issue, demonstrate that constituents care, and play a crucial role in influencing the decision-making process.

BEST PRACTICES TO CONSIDER:

During key times of the year, we need to increase our number of letters to our elected leaders regarding a specific issues or set of issues.  Organizing a group of people to write letters is easy. Here are some ideas for how to get others to write a letter:

Host a letter-writing party. Hosting letter writing parties creates space where larger numbers participants can engage in the action simultaneously. Parties can be either public or private events depending on the host’s discretion. Connect with Greek life or other service organizations to take part in the action. For pre-event tasks and a sample letter party agenda, contact the campus team.

Get competitive. Ask your ONE chapter members to get their family, friends, and personal networks to write letters. Whoever gets the most letters by a defined deadline gets a prize.

Use your weekly ONE chapter meeting to write letters together. Educate your chapter on the issue at hand, walk them through what makes a good letter, and give ten minutes for everyone to write a letter. Then collect them and mail them to Congress. Want to increase your impact? Organize a trip to hand-deliver the letters your chapter wrote to your Rep/Senator’s in-district office.

Give something away in exchange for a letter. Find a highly-trafficked location or event on campus and ask students walking by to write a 3-minute letter in exchange for something they’ll want. Try hosting a bake sale on the quad–but instead of charging money for each treat, ask students to write a letter in exchange for a cookie or cupcake.  Have paper, pens, and a sample letter on hand.

Components of an effective letter:

Introduction – Includes your name and that you are a ONE member

“Ask” – Is what you’re asking your congressperson to do

Why you care—Include a personal story or comment to include that’s specific to the “ask”

Thank You – For being a champion, a leader, or their service to the district

Contact Information – Your name, physical address, email and phone number

Download the full PDF for a Sample Letter!

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