Tips for Writing to Your Member of Congress
When planning your advocacy activities, keep in mind that Congressional members are flooded with requests for support. If you want your request to stand out, here are some suggestions:
- Get the word out – Send letters to the editor supporting specific legislation, and ask others to write their legislators. Write your local media and columnists. Tell them that colon cancer is a story that needs coverage (and if they need information about it, refer them to the CCA). Tell them that they can help save lives.
- Be credible and constructive – Use solid facts. Write from your personal experience. Describe the problem. Suggest a specific solution. Be brief and polite.
- Tell your story, briefly – Put a face to colon cancer. It's one thing to say that over 140,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year. It's another to say, "I have colon cancer that has spread, and statistically, I am likely to die. If I had been screened at age 50, this probably wouldn't have happened."
- Be specific – A request to do "something" about colon cancer will get a yawn. A request to support something specific – a specific bill, a specific funding request, specific language – tells your representative what you want from him or her.
- Ask for a response – "I'd like to know if you decide to support my request." Don't be surprised if you don't get a response – this gives you a good reason to follow up with a phone call.