Tips for holding a letter writing event

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CPJ’s Envisioning Canada Without Poverty campaign has ended. We thank CPJ members and supporters for contacting their MPs and sharing the important message that poverty must be addressed. Thanks to you, the campaign was a success. For new opportunities to get involved in the fight against poverty, check out CPJ’s new campaign: Dignity for All.

Organizing a group to write letters is a great way for your faith community to combine education with action. Not only does it mean more letters and more impact, it can be more fun! Here are a few tips for putting together a successful letter writing event.

  1. Preparations
  • Choose a goal for your group – is it ten letters? Fifty letters? Invite twice as many people as your goal. Your event can be for a group of friends and family, your church community, a social justice group, or a group from school.
  • Select a location appropriate for your group. It could be at church, at home, at school, or in a local coffee shop. The only requirements are enough space for everyone to be able to write and for everyone to be able to hear each other.
  • Gather appropriate writing materials. This could include laptops with wireless internet access, but it should also include good old-fashioned pens, pencils, paper and envelopes. Have your Member of Parliament’s address and email address on hand as well.
  • Learn about the issue yourself, or invite a local expert to share with your group. Have some basic information prepared, such as printouts from CPJ’s website. The information should be about poverty and a poverty reduction strategy, but also tips for writing a good letter.
  1. Holding the event
  • Begin with a briefing on the subject for your participants. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but make sure you include basic information on a poverty reduction strategy and why it’s important.
  • Outline what you would like the letter to include. Share the tips on writing a good letter. Encourage everyone to include a personal perspective in their letter.
  • Writing the letters doesn’t need to be done in silence. Encourage conversation, share stories and perspectives, and allow for questions and answers.
  • Thank your attendees for coming, and encourage them to share what they’ve learned with others.
  1. Follow up
  • If you have internet access, emails can be sent to the MP during the event.
  • Letters can be mailed directly by the participants, or you can collect them all and mail them.
  • Consider having a small group schedule a meeting with your MP to hand-deliver the letters. Then you can share your message with your MP in person as well.

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