Write Letters to Congress

Writing Letters to Congress

Here are the basics of effective written communication to your members of Congress.

Identify yourself as a constituent

Members of Congress are accountable to voters in their home state or district, so giving your address is important, especially in emails. (It is also why it is not generally effective to write members of Congress who do not represent you.) Additionally, many offices need your address to send a response.

Stick to one issue per letter

Staying focused keeps your request clear. Also, congressional staff are assigned different issues to track, so one person may get the Iraq letters, and another may get the letters about U.S. oil dependence.

Keep it short, simple and polite

Congressional staff get piles of mail each day, so make your letter brief and to the point. Keep the tone respectful no matter how frustrated you feel with a congressperson’s votes or activities.

Include relevant personal information

If you have loved ones in the military, mention that in letters about issues that affect them. If you are a teacher concerned about federal budget priorities, describe the financial challenges school faces. These kinds of personal links boost your letter’s power.

Send thank you letters

Many constituents write when they are unhappy, but few write when they are pleased with their member of Congress. Recognizing a vote or speech lets your congressperson know that constituents support such actions.

Personalize sample letters

FCNL and other organizations often provide sample letters. Personalize them and use them to guide your own letter instead of copying them word-for-word.

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