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Writing Personalized Letters to Stakeholders

The FY2017 federal budget was announced yesterday (see attached). You can:

  • Ask the government to restore the $294 million cut from Title II, Part A. Tell them why that funding is important. Share your stories.
  • Thank them for retaining the $190 million for LEARN.
  • Thank them for the increased funding to the Office of Civil Rights.
  • Thank them for the increased funding to TRIO and Gear Up.
  • Thank them for retaining funding for Pell Grants and adding year-round Pell. 

Feel free to reference NCTE’s Policy Recommendations (attached).

The budget vote will take place this Friday, May 5.

Because of the time constraints, you might consider sending an email message. However, personal letters do make a powerful statement, so read on!

Due to the threat of anthrax, authorities discourage constituents from sending postal letters when writing members of Congress. But personalized letters can be effective, particularly if you have a compelling story or passion for your subject. Stakeholders like stories, especially those they can cite to support a position or policy.

Congress: Constituents can send personalized letters to members of Congress, but it is better to send them to district offices or fax them to the Washington, DC, office. All postal mail is diverted to a facility to be screened for anthrax before delivery to congressional offices. You can find Senate contact information here and US House of Representatives information here.

Address your letters as follows:

The Honorable (full name)

(Room #) (Name) House Office Building

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable (full name)

(Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


White House: Although it encourages emails, the White House will accept letters and outlines the parameters on its website:

If you write a letter, please consider typing it on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper. If you hand-write your letter, please consider using pen and writing as neatly as possible.


Please include your return address on your letter as well as your envelope. If you have an email address, please consider including that as well.

And finally, be sure to include the full address of the White House to make sure your message gets to us as quickly and directly as possible:

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500


Include your return address in both your letter and envelope. Provide your email address as well.

State and local offices: Google your representatives for their mailing address. If the state legislature is in session, write to the state capitol, but when it is out of session, write to the district office. Your legislative website should include both addresses.

Here are some tips for writing personalized letters:

  • Typing is preferable, but if you do choose to handwrite, use pen and write neatly. Keep the message to one page.
  • Include a subject line if you wish the letter to be more businesslike, or designate your subject in the first paragraph. That could include a piece of legislation or policy or issue important to you.
  • Succinctly and clearly, describe your concern or delineate your “ask.” Illustrate it with a story. Provide facts or statistics if you have them.
  • Thank your policymaker for their service – even if you do not agree with them on the issues. Offer to meet with them or discuss by phone. Invite them to your school or campus.
  • Request a reply if you want one. Feel free to request their position or clarify what you would like them to do.
  •  Follow up with a phone call.

Personal letters are powerful. Staff members do read them and will share them with their stakeholder if they feel they are compelling, moving, or persuasive. The fact that you made the effort to write rather than click boxes in an automated action alert carries a lot of weight.


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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts