Writing a letter to your elected member of Parliament and the media will make a difference
Surprisingly few people write to their elected members. Members do read and respond to letters, and a flood of letters on a topic can make a difference. On occasion, a single thoughtful factually persuasive letter can change a member’s mind or least give them a better understanding of the thinking of the constituents. Personal letters are much more effective than emails.
Some pointers for writing an effective letter.
First, the do’s:
- Address the letter properly.
- Identify the issue.
- Be reasonably brief.
- Letters must be legible but the form, wording and grammar are less important.
- Write your own views as a personal letter. Form letters will get form replies.
- Give your reasons for taking a stand.
- Be constructive; tell your member what the right approach is.
- If you have expert knowledge, share it with your member.
- Say well done when it is deserved.
- If writing to a Minister, ask that your letter be treated as a ministerial letter to ensure a quicker reply.
- Finish with a question to ensure that your concern is actively considered.
Keep the structure of your letter clear and simple
- Who you are and why you are writing.
- Why the issue is important.
- What the key facts are.
- Why inaction is not an option.
- What you want your member to actually do.
Now some don’ts:
- Don’t make threats or promises.
- Don’t berate your representative, don’t waffle and don’t talk about issues you don’t understand.
- Don’t pretend to wield vast political power.
- Don’t demand a commitment before all the facts are in.