Working with Congress: Activist Milestone #3
Write a Letter to Your Member of Congress
Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents. They depend on you to educate them about what is happening in their district or state and what legislation is most important to their constituents. Writing a letter and making a follow-up phone call only takes a few minutes of your time, but it ensures that the people who make decisions on your behalf every day know how you want to be represented.
RESULTS has long focused on sending handwritten letters to policymakers to show the depth of support for our campaigns – it takes more time to send a personalized letter by hand, and policymakers therefore “weigh” your opinions more seriously than those submitted in form e-mails.
Be sure to introduce yourself and share why you care about the issue. Use the EPIC laser talk format to create a concise and powerful letter. See an example of a letter to Congress below.
Also, learn ways you can create a leader in your member of Congress and when appropriate, incorporate those tips into your correspondence with them.
In your letter, be sure to request a reply and include all of your contact information. Once you’ve sent your letter, wait a few days and then call to make sure the aide that handles these issues received your letter. You can use our Legislator Lookup on the RESULTS website to search for the names of key policy aides. If you cannot find or don’t know the aide that handles your issue, just call the office and ask.
Note: Mail sent to congressional offices in Washington is still being screened for biological agents. We suggest you scan a copy of your handwritten letter to the Washington office, mail or deliver your letter to the local district office, or contact your members of Congress via e-mail. You can find all the necessary contact information for your elected officials in the Legislator Lookup.
Sample Letter to Congress
Engage: I’m writing to ask the senator/representative to protect U.S. investments in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Problem: COVID-19 is having a devastating impact in low-income nations. The World Bank estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic could drive 100 million people into extreme poverty. And without urgent action, the number of people facing hunger is expected to double to 265 million by the end of 2020, according to the World Food Program.
Inform: But increasing U.S. support to existing global health programs to ramp up service, create alternative methods of delivery, and prepare for the production and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine could make all the difference. It is imperative that we increase U.S. support to existing global health programs and do so quickly.
Call to Action: Will you please write and speak to Senate/House leadership and ask that they include at least $20 billion for international development in a COVID-19 supplemental bill, including:
- $4 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria over 2 years,
- $4 billion for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,
- $2 billion for anti-hunger efforts, with at least $500 million for nutrition?
I would appreciate your prompt reply to my requests. Thank you for your time and attention.
John Q. Public, RESULTS advocate, 1234 Citizen Ave, Anytown, USA 98765