By Maria Roberts on August 14th, 2008
A personal letter can go a long way in reaching a Member of Parliament. Whether you are writing as a part of a letter-writing campaign or on your own, the following guidelines will help you know how to write an advocacy letter to an MP.
- A personal letter is much more effective than a form letter, so try to put it in your own words.
- If you can, make the letter personal by including your own experiences.
- An email is just as effective as a letter by post, as Parliamentary staff handle both in the same way. (Remember to include your postal mailing address if you write an email.)
- Emphasize two or three major points, and keep to the same topic.
- Try to keep the letter to one page. Do not exceed two pages. If you have more information to share, include in the envelope a brief on the topic or any other informational materials.
- Your objective should be stated from the outset. Follow this with a brief introduction outlining your concerns.
- Describe your interest in the issue and your credentials to speak on it.
- Ask questions that provoke a response. Ask for more information or for clarification on your MP’s position.
- Request a commitment to a specific action, and give a rationale for your request.
- Thank the MP for any positive action he has taken in the past on this issue.
- Request that the MP respond to your letter.
- No postage is required when you send a letter to an MP.
- Keep a copy of the letter you send. This way you can refer back to it when you receive a response.
- Share your letter with other individuals and organizations like CPJ who are also advocating for your cause. That way, your network of advocates knows what you have communicated to the MP.
- Follow up . Write back to the MP, thanking him for his response, and remind him of your requests and any commitments he has made.