So you want to make a real difference? We’re here to help. At Pela, we want to equip you with the resources to make lasting change. Writing an email to the elected officials in your community is an effective way to raise awareness and connect with decision-makers. But where do you start? We have created a template and simple step-by-step instructions on how to write an impactful email to your local government.
Steps to writing an impactful email
- Proper Email Etiquette
Elected officials have a high volume of emails coming in throughout the day. Proper email etiquette will ensure your email will be read and addressed. Having a clear subject line, addressing the official by their correct title, and even professional email salutations all help! Elected officials’ websites should provide all information you will need to email them.
- Tackle one issue at a time!
We know there are a ton of issues that you want to undertake however, one issue per e-mail is more impactful. Emails with one subject matter are easier to comprehend and you are likely to receive a quicker response.
- Be Passionate, Personal, and Polite
Express why you are passionate about this issue to the elected official by making it personal. Explain how this issue has affected both the people and environment of your local community and the planet as a whole. Do your research on this issue and include facts that support your cause. Sometimes, when we are passionate about a topic, we can forget to be tactful! Ensure that your point is not lost in your delivery.
- Be Solution-Based
When highlighting issues, be sure to provide solutions. Be specific and use your research to back up the solutions you provide. Let the elected official know what they can do to make a difference for their voters. What can be done immediately? What will have to happen over time? Lay out your proposed solution plan, then ask for a meeting to discuss in further detail.
Subject Line: Clear and Concise
Dear (Elected Official’s Name):
Paragraph One: The opening statement is a good place to state that you are a concerned voter. Identify the reason you are writing this email and your hopes from the official.
Paragraphs Two and Three: Use these paragraphs to clearly discuss the issue and how it affects you and your community. These paragraphs should passionately present facts, research, and personal stories to support the points you are making.
Paragraph Four: Use this paragraph to present the solutions you are asking of the legislator.
Salutation: Professional and Polite
This email should be max 300 words (About a page).
Below is an email on the issue of plastic waste that you can copy and send to your local legislator:
Subject Line: Request to set up a meeting on the issue of Single Use Plastics.
Dear Honorable [Enter official title and name of elected official],
As a voter of [enter city name], I am contacting you today to discuss the issue of plastic pollution in our community and waterways. Our local waterways are an essential part of our local environment and economy. [Insert your ask here. E.g. request a meeting or ask them to support a specific piece of legislation, etc.]
91% of all plastic produced goes unrecycled, and is instead sent to landfills, or left to pollute natural ecosystems. As plastics break down into smaller pieces, they produce small pieces of plastic (i.e. less than 5mm in length) known as “microplastics”. Many of these microplastics are fragments of larger plastic items like plastic beverage bottles, plastic straws, and plastic bags.
The issue of plastic pollution affects your constituents in three areas: drinking water, environment and animals.Recent studies have found thousands of microplastic particles in every liter of drinking water. This is significant because our waterways provide drinking water for [enter population of your city]. I have seen the impact of plastic pollution when I visit my favorite shoreline park, plastics litter our shorelines and beaches. Single-use plastic items, which are only used for a short time, can last in landfills for over 400 years! Plastic decomposition in our waterways can lead to the release of toxic chemicals such as BPA .Plastics are ingested by wildlife and pets which poses chemical, physical, and biological harm.
Communities across the world are taking action to stop plastic pollution. Many towns and cities have passed ordinances to reduce the use of single-use plastic, launched public education campaigns on the issue, and stopped using single-use plastic items like plastic water bottles at municipal facilities. [Repeat your ask.] Thank you for your attention to this issue and your hard work to improve our community. I look forward to speaking with you.
First and Last Name