Tips for Effective Activism
Letter, Fax, Phone, or Email?
A typed or handwritten letter carries the most weight with any recipient.
If you have the time, you can't beat it for effectiveness.
The Take Action messages from our Action Center are sent via email or
fax. We use special software that can also handle the web forms that many
legislators now require for consituent communications.
In some instances, our Action Center will have a Call Alert that makes
it easy for you to call a legislator's office to convey your views. In
those cases, we ask that you log the resultsof your call (using our easy
software) so that we know now effective the action was.
Write a Powerful Letter
See our tips on how to write a powerful letter.
Raise hell at public hearings and community meetings
Public hearings provide an opportunity for public comments on a particular project or
vote. This kind of community involvement can make a strong statement.
- Time is limited at public hearings, so arrive early to sign up for a slot to speak.
- When you speak, focus on your main points. You will often be able to submit written
statements which will allow you to address additional concerns.
- Be polite and respect other community members' ideas. A hearing is a forum for the
exchange of ideas, not a neighborhood contest.
Now's your chance: meeting with elected officials
Meeting with elected officials in person is an opportunity to make personal contact
with decision-makers and convey your position in a persuasive and animated manner. A lobby
visit allows you to tell your Senator or Representative what you think about a certain
issue or bill and ask her/him to take positive action.
Here are some suggestions for a successful lobby visit:
Before the Meeting
- Request a meeting in writing with specific times and dates. Follow up with a call to the
scheduler or secretary to confim the meeting.
- Make sure to convey what issue or bill you would like to discuss.
- Decide on talking points to express your most important ideas.
- Set a goal for the meeting. Do you want the Representative to vote for or against a bill
or introduce legislation?
During the Meeting
- Be prompt.
- Keep it short and stick to your talking points.
- Take the time to thank the elected official for past votes in support of your issues.
- Provide personal and local examples of the impact of the legislation.
- Be honest and don't claim to know more than you do about an issue. You don't have to be
the expert, just a committed and active constituent.
- Set a deadline or timeline for response.
After the Meeting
- Write a thank you letter to the legislator.
- Send any materials and information you offered.
- Follow up on deadlines and if they are not met, set up others. Be persistent.
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