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Writing a Letter to Your Member of Congress

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Writing a Letter to Your Member of Congress

Personal letters from constituents can be powerful. Personal letters show that you really care about the issue. Fax or e-mail the letter. Postal mail to the U.S. Congress has slowed down considerably after increased security. You can still mail a letter, but need more lead time for delivery. Never underestimate the power of a constituent's letter.

NASW provides prewritten letters that you can modify and send to your members of Congress. If you do not know your members of Congress, we can help you find them as well. Click on the button below to send a letter to your member of Congress.

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To make your letter effective:

  • Keep it short. Be concise and limit your letter to one or two pages.
  • Use the appropriate address and salutation. Use the correct title, address, and salutation, and remember to use spell check after completing your letter.

For Representative :

The Honorable John Q. Smith
U.S. House of Representatives
111 Address
Washington , DC 20010

Dear Representative Smith:

For Senator :

The Honorable John Q. Smith
U.S. Senate
111 Address
Washington, DC 20010

Dear Senator Smith:

Identify yourself. Let your legislator know that you are a constituent, a social worker, and a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Be polite. Like most of us, legislators will respond better to positive communication. Start by recognizing their support on other legislation.

Explain your position. Talk about how the legislation has affected you or the people you serve. Include the NASW recommendations in your letter.

Ask for a response. Be clear about what you would like your legislator to do—for example, vote for a piece of legislation, co-sponsor legislation, or offer an amendment—and request a reply to your letter.

Establish yourself as a resource. You are an expert in your field and can offer to provide additional information regarding the field, the issue, and the effect of proposed legislation.

Write legibly. Handwritten letters can be as persuasive as typed letters, but your handwriting must be legible. Generally, writing in a professional capacity related to your employment lends credibility. If your letter is part of a letter-writing campaign, a handwritten letter gives the appearance of a grassroots "ordinary citizen" communication, rather than a communication from a "special interest group."

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