How to Effectively Communicate Community Needs to an Elected Official
Elected officials play an important role in ensuring the needs of their constituents are heard and addressed. These officials like to hear from the people they represent because it helps them stay on top of emerging issues.
You might be wondering how to contact your state’s elected officials. It is not as difficult as you might think. Elected officials have offices that maintain open communication channels, including phone lines, email addresses, and postal addresses.
However, there are several things to keep in mind when considering how to contact your elected official. Here are a few:
One of the most important things to keep in mind when thinking about contacting government officials is to be personal. Whether you write a letter or call by phone, be willing to share a little about how the issue you are contacting them about will affect your family or community.
When contacting your state representatives, it is important to address them properly. You can find the proper title to use online. For example, Senators are to be addressed as “The Honorable (name)” on an envelope.
It is also important to be respectful, even if you are communicating with your representative about an issue you disagree with their stance on. Elected officials are used to hearing both sides of an issue and should be willing to hear you out, as long as your lobbying techniques are calm and respectful.
Should You Write or Call?
A letter can be a highly effective tool to convey how an issue will affect you and your community. Here are some ways to make your letters the most helpful for your representatives:
- Handwritten: A handwritten letter shows you took the time to make sure your letter would stand, and that the issue is very important to you. Be sure your handwriting is readable and that you are respectful so that your letter will make the impact you desire.
- Brief: Your elected officials are busy, so do not be like a political lobbyist; keep your communication brief and to the point while still sharing how the issue affects you personally.
If you prefer to call, write out a few points that you’d like to mention so that you have them in front of you while on the phone. You may also need to make an appointment to speak with your elected official. So, be prepared to speak with someone to schedule your time to speak at a later date.
When the time comes to speak with your elected official by phone, be clear and respectful. Share your personal story and how the issue you are contacting them about will affect you.
Effective Communication With Your Elected Officials
Now that you know the basics of how to best communicate with your elected official, you are ready to get started. Remember to Keep your communication personal and make sure you are respectful. No matter whether you write or call, prepare ahead of time so you can use your time well.
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