CPJ's Advocacy Toolkit
Developing an Advocacy Strategy
Advocacy How To's
- Forming Relationships with Policy-Makers
- Calling Your MP
- Meeting With Your MP
- Writing a Letter to Your MP
- Writing a Letter to a Cabinet Minister
- Meeting with civil servants
- Writing a One-Page Brief
- Preparing and Submitting a Petition
- Organizing a Public Meeting
- Organizing a Demonstration
- Working with the Media
- Writing a Press Release
- Using Social Media
- Engaging Younger Generations
A personal letter to your MP (Member of Parliament) can be an effective tool for change. Whether you are writing individually or with a letter-writing campaign, the following guidelines will help you know how to write an effective advocacy letter to an MP.
- An original letter can be more effective than a form letter, so try to use your own words.
- Personalize and include your own relevant experiences.
- Two to three Specific points about your issue to explain your position.
- Concise is most effective (one to two pages is best). If you have more information, include a brief on the topic or any other informational materials. See section on “Writing a One-page Brief”.
- State purpose/objective at the beginning and briefly introduce concerns.
- Describe your interest in the issue and any relevant credentials.
- Include questions that provoke response.
- Ask for more information or clarification on your MP’s position.
- Request a commitment to a specific action, and give a rationale for your request.
- Thank the MP for any positive action they have taken in the past on this issue.
- Request that the MP respond to your letter.
Go Deeper: Styles of Address. For information on addressing your letter, visit the “Styles of Address” webpage from Canadian Heritage.
Sending Emails to Politicians
An email is just as effective as a letter by post as Parliamentary staff handle both in the same way.
When sending e-mails to a MP or other elected representative, be sure to follow many of the same standards included in the “Writing a Letter to a MP” section (p.25). The email should be brief and focused, with the correct style of address for the representative. Be kind with language, and make sure to ask the representative to respond to your email.
Include your address and postal code so that the representative is aware that you are a part of
When MPs receive multiple letters on the same issue, they will pay more attention to it. If you have a large network, share your letter with others as a template. Encourage them to personalize the letter as much as possible.
- No postage is required when you send a letter to an MP.
- Keep a copy of the letter you send to refer back to it when you receive a response.
- Share your letter with other individuals and organizations (like CPJ) who are also advocating for your cause.
- Follow up! Write back to the MP thanking them for their response, adding any reminders of your requests and commitments they have made.
Go Deeper: MP contact. Find contact information for your MP using your postal code, visit the Parliament of Canada’s website.