Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to Write an Effective Letter - Some Tips

Letter Content:
Make sure your letter is addressed to a named individual (instead of "Dear Sir or Madame"). Contact information for political representatives can be found at your local library or via the Internet.
  • Be polite but firm.
  • Keep your letter short and to the point.
  • Make sure the information you give is factually correct.
  • Be clear about what you want to see happen - tell them exactly what action you would like them to take and make it as concrete as possible. (e.g. " I want you to stop this now" is not as helpful as " I would like you to make it a priority to work with the Soviet Ambassador to find alternate trapping methods.")
  • Appeal to their Business sense: As a constituent, let your representatives know that the way they deal with this issue (or fail to deal with it) may affect your voting decision in the next election.
  • If writing to someone in another geographical area, tell them that his/her position on the issue makes you reluctant to visit his/her country, state, or province, and that you are now inclined to spend your money elsewhere.
  • If you are writing to a company, tell them you will not purchase any more of their products and you will be alerting other consumers.
  • Give the full name of any proposed law or parliamentary bill that you want to see passed.
  • Include your name and address and ask for a reply.
  • Keep the pressure on. Is there anyone else to whom you can write?
  • Write letters to congratulate organizations and governments if they make changes to improve animal welfare.
Using the correct form address:

There are no hard and fast rules for addressing important officials. The following simple rules will help you achieve the right tone:
  • Presidents: Dear Mr./Ms. President
  • Mailing address to Members of Congress:The Honorable John Doe
  • Greeting to Member, Senate: Dear Senator
  • Greeting to Member, House of Representatives: Dear Congressman/woman
  • Mailing Address to Ambassadors: His/Her Excellency John/Jane Doe
  • Greeting to Ambassador: Dear Ambassador Doe
  • Prime Ministers: Dear Prime Minister Doe
  • End your letters: Respectfully yours or Sincerely
  • Other Officials and elected representatives:
    Dear (Title) Doe
    Writing to newspapers, TV or radio stations
If you want something to be published, make it as short and to the point as possible. Encourage the media to take more interest in one of WSPA's campaigns. Explain what you are doing locally to try and help animals.
Consider organizing a special event for one of WSPA's campaigns.

Your letters of protest and/or support can make a measurable difference in animal welfare. In the past, WSPA members have made tremendous strides in animal welfare through their letter writing campaigns. WSPA members from around the world sent thousands of letters to the government of Pakistan to protest infamous "bear-baiting" events in which de-clawed and de-toothed bears are pitted against trained fighting dogs. These letters helped convince officials to enforce their anti-cruelty laws and virtually shut down this horrific "sport."

Our members also pressured the government of Taiwan to pass the nation's first animal welfare law, which led to sweeping reforms and improvements in animal shelters and pet stores.

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