I've recently been doing some letter writing. Though I'm still far behind on my emails and correspondence with friends there are some issues that require the attention of our elected officials and government agencies. As a part of this process looking at how to be most effective has been important. Fortunately the Congressional Management Foundation has done research on this very topic and can help show us how to make letters more effective.
A few points jump out immediately:
- Personalized letters have more impact than form letters
- Shorter is better
- Grassroots groups can gain from understanding the process
None of these should be barriers. It is far better to write a long windy letter than none at all. While understanding the process and getting the timing right is great perfect timing doesn't do anything if the message isn't delivered. Read more about Effective communications with Congress (and others)