Particularly if you need your MOC to act on an issue within the next 2 weeks, sending an email message is one of the more effective ways of communicating with your MOC. It’s easier than sending a letter, and it allows you to present your position more fully than in a short social media message or phone call.
Most of the tips for letter writing apply to email messages as well:
- Limit your message to one issue.
- Be respectful and professional; avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
- Be succinct: state your specific “ask” (e.g., to support or oppose a particular bill identified by its name and number), and give your main reasons in a paragraph or two. Use your own words, rather than merely copying text from an advocacy organization.
- Humanize your message: state briefly why the issue is important to you—e.g., relating it to your personal experience or faith perspective—or how the issue affects people in the MOC’s district/state.
Our Senators and Representatives have comment forms on their websites that generate emails to the MOC (links available here). You’ll be asked to enter your address, so they’ll see you’re a constituent without your having to say so in the text of your message. But if you’re writing a State Senator or Delegate or a County Supervisor, be sure to include your address in your email, so the staff will see you’re a constituent.
If you’re writing to two or three of your MOC’s about the same issue, you may want to type the text of your message in a separate Word document, and then copy and paste it into the comment form on each MOC’s webpage. (If you cite a Senate Bill number and name when writing to your Senators, change them to the corresponding House Bill number and name when writing to your Representative.)
Some organizations will invite you to send a standardized email message—the electronic version of a form letter—to your MOCs from the organization’s website. This makes it easy for you to send the same message to your three MOCs simultaneously. But MOCs pay much less attention to such form letters, and of course, the organization will add you to its email list for future solicitations. If the organization’s website allows you to edit the email text to put it in your own words and humanize the message as described above, and you don’t mind getting on the organization’s email list, then feel free to use that option instead of going to each MOC’s website.
Don’t overdo it with email messages. If you write your MOCs on a near-daily basis about a raft of issues, your messages will start looking like spam to the MOCs’ staffs. Focus on the issues you care most about, and write when some specific action is pending or urgently needed.
Return to the Advocacy 101 page to explore other tools for advocacy.