Tips for letter writing to elected officials and other folks in power

(adapted from The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide by Jen Gale)

  1. Introduce yourself and the issue: Make sure you are specific, not vague; mention in your opening that you’re a constituent/citizen and why this matter is important to you.

  2. State the facts: What is happening as you understand it; recognize and thank your elected official for the positive steps that have been taken in this area; next, tell them that those steps aren’t enough and why they should act. Tell them what needs to change and why.

  3. Add a personal touch: Explain why the issue is important to you, include relevant personal anecdotes or experiences; let them know that the way they perform on this issue WILL affect the way you vote in the next election; and share that others within your neighbourhood care about this issue, too.

  4. Tell the elected official what you want them to do: Be clear on what action you want them to take.

  5. Follow-up: very important! Finish by saying that you look forward to receiving their reply (provide contact information); be patient, it may take a while to get a response. After a month, call your elected official’s office to remind them of your letter and ask when you can expect a response.If you don’t hear back after two weeks, try again. Be both persistent and polite.

Here is a sample letter

Check out the CPAWS (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) guide for more tips.
You’ll find videos, example letters and more on their website.

And there’s also the Center for Public Justice‘s website.