My Letter to Congress

  • Commit to writing a Letter to Congress

  • Finalize plan for my letter

    • Add a task to review this new timeline and workspace

    • This is your note taking area for each task under a milestone. Add a new task below to review this workspace for a few minutes. You can even set a timer for yourself! (Check it out in your nav above).
    • Figure out my intention

    • What am I writing to Congress about? Is it a topic or an issue I'm passionate about? Write your quick thoughts and notes here to keep in mind. Add more tasks below if appropriate.
    • Add dates to my timeline

    • Figure out when you want to send or email your letter and add dates to your timeline. Do you know the congressional timeline of this issue? Is a relevant bill up for a vote? Here's a link to relevant Congressional calendars to assist with your planning: https://www.congress.gov/resources/display/content/Calendars+and+Schedules
    • Do a quick overview of my gameplan

    • Take a look at the milestones and tasks in your timeline. Is there anything missing or do you need to make adjustments? Add tasks or edit/reorder tasks/milestones as necessary.
  • Collect information for my letter

    • Research contact info for my representative or senator

    • Contact info for senators can be found here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ Contact info for representatives can be found here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/ Add in addresses/emails here for use in your letter here for reference:
    • Research on issue or topic you'll be writing about

    • It's not necessary to cite the things you talk about in your letter, especially since you should keep it brief. However, it always helps to be informed! Research on Congress, U.S. bills, and important committees: https://www.congress.gov/ https://www.govtrack.us/ Add your research items or questions (things you're not clear about) as separate tasks in this milestone. Break your work down whenever possible.
    • Am I writing to the Supreme Court?

    • Here's the contact information for the Supreme Court: http://usgovinfo.about.com/blsupct.htm
  • Write draft of my letter

    • Use the proper form of address

    • To Your Senator: The Honorable (full name) (Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 To Your Representative: The Honorable (full name) (Room #) (Name) House Office Building United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 The above addresses should be used in email messages, as well as those sent through the Postal Service.
    • 1st paragraph

    • Tip: State why you are writing and who you are. List your full name and address (especially if you want a response).
    • 2nd paragraph

    • Use your second paragraph to elaborate. Tip: Stick with the facts and leave emotion out of it! Provide specific information or evidence about how the topic affects you and others. If a certain bill is involved, definitely cite the correct title and number of the bill.
    • 3rd paragraph

    • Tip: This is where you recommend a course of action. Whether it is a vote for or against a bill or a change in policy, be clear about your ask and conclude your letter in a respectful way.
  • Finalize my letter

    • Send for feedback

    • Tip: This isn't necessary, but if you feel comfortable sharing your letter, getting a pair of eyes on your letter can always be helpful for advice or proofreading. Consider, also, using a professional tool such as www.prowritingaid.com
    • Format final letter

    • Paste in your letter in whatever format you're using to submit it. Whether it's handwritten, typed out and printed or emailed, be sure to keep it to around 1 page. Tip: Handwritten letters may get you to the top of the pile depending on the representative.
    • Did I thank the reader for her time?

    • It never hurts to be courteous!
    • Include my personal details

    • Tip: Stick with your full name and address. Anything else can be included if you are comfortable or if it pertains to the topic (ie, maybe you're a professional or expert in a certain field).
  • Send my letter

    • Mail it, Email it, Post it--whatever!

    • Congrats! Any notes or tasks to add for further work?
  • Share & build support for my letter

    • Share my letter writing with personal networks

    • You've taken the time to plan and write a powerful letter. Now, take the time to share your efforts with your personal network and help amplify your message to Congress. Create new tasks for those networks with whom you'd like to share your letter.
    • Ask my network to join me in writing letters

    • Interested in building a small coalition of interested citizens? Ask your network to join you in Consider using the following tweet: I built my letter to congress using TheRightMargin! Use your writing to share your voice in 2017! #lettertocongress http://buff.ly/2jRzgAe
    • Start a new letter for another issue

    • Think about other subjects, causes, or issues you're passionate about. If you want to contact your representative about these issues, consider replicating this letter from 'smart projects' in your project dashboard.