Organizing a Letter Writing Campaign

Legislators tell us that one of the most effective method of communicating our positions is through letters. Letters can be mailed or faxed. In a time crunch, phone calls are necessary and helpful, but letters from constituents make the most difference. Emails are less effective because it is difficult to verify that the sender is a constituent.

When organizing a letter campaign, keep in mind that volume beats originality. A hand-written original letter is great, but few people take the time to write one. However, providing a sample letter for people to download, sign and either mail themselves or take to a PTA box at school means that many more people are likely to participate.

Discuss the campaign with your school principal or superintendent, and get permission if you are using a school facility. This is a legal activity, but it is a courtesy to do so. Note: there are more restrictive rules if the letters pertain to a local school bond or parcel tax campaign.

Select a limited time span for the letter campaign; e.g., a week.

Communicate the campaign widely, through email lists, presentations at PTA meetings and your PTA newsletter. (Note: You cannot legally send home fliers for this activity via student backpacks. Check with your principal or school district about utilizing other school information resources.)

Explain to the letter signers that their signature, printed name and street address (make sure they are legible!) are required for their letters to make a difference, and that you will not record the information for other uses. Make sure to include blanks on the letters for signature, printed name and street address. Legislators disregard any letters not from their constituents, and they actually check names and addresses to ensure their legitimacy. Also, they normally will respond to the letter sender.

Letter campaign via email:  This is usually the method that generates the most letters. Parents and staff who normally don’t volunteer for other things will often surprise you by taking the time to download, print, sign and return letters on important issues.

It is better to link to letters on a website, rather than attach sample letters to an e-mail, because many people are reluctant to open attachments. If you have a PTA website, upload the letters to the home page. If not, you can provide a link to the letters on the council, district or California State PTA website.

It is easiest to ask people to download, print, and sign the letters themselves and then provide a PTA box at their school office to return the letters. In the PTA box (label it “PTA letters”), include hanging folders labeled with each legislator’s name, so that people self-file – this saves a lot of time.

If there is not an easy place for people to return letters (e.g., you are sending letters county-wide), ask individuals to mail the letters themselves to the Capitol. The letters must be mailed to each legislator in a separate envelope.

If you have multiple legislators in your area (you will have at least one Assembly member and one Senator), put a letter addressed to each on the website. Include a letter to the Governor as well.

Include in the instructions this link for people to determine who their legislators are if you have multiple legislators: It is also helpful in case people wish to forward the e-mail to their friends and relatives in other parts of the state.

Print-and-Sign Letter campaign. Another way to get letters is to pre-print them and bring them to PTA meetings or other events. Make the letters available, but don’t pressure people to sign them.


  • Print postcards with the key message on one side, and a space for individual comment, name, address and signature on the back.
  • Bring a variety of types of notecards or other stationery to the meeting, and ask people to take five minutes to write and address a letter. Include a fact sheet or message to legislators to help letter-writers stay on message.

Thank participants:

Regardless of the method of the campaign, thank letter signers for their support.

Options for returning letters to legislators:

  • Mail letters in a batch to each legislator in his or her Sacramento office. Make sure to include the legislator’s room number with the address.
  • Hand-carry the letters to each legislator’s district office.
  • Hand-carry the letters to each legislator in Sacramento.
  • In the latter two options, make an appointment with the legislator or a staff person and present the letters with a plea for action.

Fig. A-1

Print Friendly, PDF & Email