Write your own letters to politicians & people of influence
These are a few things to keep in mind when writing to politicians and people of influence.
A physical letter can add more weight to your message. However, email communication is also very useful.
A few points to remember
- get the correct address – addresses for politicians.
- use the correct title- MP or Senator & The Hon. (if they’ve been a government minister)
- for Ministers – Mr/Mr/Ms/DR First Name Last name MP (or The Hon.Mr/Mr/Ms/DR First Name Last name MP)
- for Senators – Senator First Name Last name (or Senator The Hon.Mr/Mr/Ms/DR First Name Last name)
- Start your letter as follow
- ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear Mr/Mr/Ms/DR Last name’ in the case of MPs
- ‘Dear Senator’ or ‘Dear Senator Last name’ in the case of Senators
- Begin with an introduction of who you are and why you are writing to them.
- Mention if you are in their electorate. Include your membership or involvement with of any groups or community organisations such as service clubs, community groups, business groups, charity organisations etc . These will help to establish your connections in the community and hence your credibility.
- Start with a short explanation of the issue that you are writing to them about.
- You may mention some of the positive things you feel the politician or their party have done. This will help to establish that you are not completely against all that they do.
Body of the letter
- Keep it brief
- Politicians are busy and have a lot to read. If it is too long it will only get a cursory reading. Try to keep to one page if possible
- Make it clear
- Use simple language – you’re writing to get your message across, not to impress with your vocabulary
- Use your own words. If you are using a pre-written letter from an organisation change the words into your own. It will flow more naturally help it to stand out.
- Set out the points clearly – use dot points if suitable – add any relevant documentation or references. Facts and figures can add weight to your message
- All your points and information should be relevant to the issue. Don’t bring up other issues or digress into other
- Be respectful and polite – your aim is to persuade – not belittle or berate. It will not get read if the tone is aggressive.
- Restate what issue is that you are calling for a change to.
- Say what you believe should happen – remember ‘respectful and polite’.
- Provide contact details and what is your preferred mode of communication.
- The more options they have, the more likely you’ll get a prompt reply.
- Be patient. Politicians may receive hundreds of letters, particularly if it’s a current and contentious issue. It could take up to a month for a reply.
- If you have not received a reply after a month
- ring or email them to remind them of your letter and ask when you expect a reply – remember ‘respectful and polite’.
- Keep trying until you get a response. Persistent & polite. Remember that an MP is employed by you and it is their responsibility to communicate with you.
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