Sample Letter to Congress
Why Handwritten Letters?
Because they work. Research from the Congressional Management Foundation confirms that handwritten, mailed letters are still the best way to communicate with your members of Congress.
In fact, 96 percent of Capitol Hill staff reported in a survey that if their member of Congress had not reached a decision on an issue, personalized letters would influence his or her position.
Personalized emails can also be effective, but congressional offices experience large amounts of email and sometimes lack the additional staff to handle the volume and evaluate the email’s authenticity.
Handwritten letters from constituents of members of Congress are always read and logged.
Dear Sen. __________ or Rep. _______________,
As Congress and the Super Committee work to reduce our nation’s deficits, I urge you to create a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.
The numbers are staggering. Millions of families in the United States continue to feel the effects of the recession—nearly one in six people in our country are poor. Around the world, nearly 1 billion people are hungry, and one child dies every 3.6 seconds from poverty, hunger, and preventable diseases. This isn’t the time for Congress to cut programs that provide vital assistance to those in need.
Programs for hungry and poor people make up only a fraction of the federal budget, but they have a tremendous impact. The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit keep millions of families out of poverty, reward work, and promote economic mobility. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) has responded quickly and effectively to need, preventing an increase in the percentage of families struggling to put food on the table for three consecutive years.
International poverty-focused development assistance reduces the likelihood of conflict and strengthens our national security. Moreover, cuts to poverty-focused development assistance will restrict our ability to respond to humanitarian emergencies, such as the ongoing famine in the Horn of Africa.
We must do all we can to reduce the budget deficit but not on the backs of the most vulnerable people. As you consider deficit-reduction proposals, I ask you to take a balanced and fair approach and consider all areas of the budget, including revenues. Please form a circle of protection around funding for hungry and poor people at home and abroad.
Four Simple Steps
1. Write your name and address at the end of your letter AND on the envelope, so your members of Congress know you are one of the people they represent.
2. Ask for specific action, using this sentence or your own words:
I ask you to reform foreign aid to make it more effective in reducing poverty.
3. Give reasons why. Some examples:
- Share your personal story about what motivates you to write. Letters with personal stories are the most compelling and effective.
- My church is already helping by [example], but I also expect my country to take the lead in combating global poverty.
4. Send your letter to Congress.
Put each letter in a separate envelope and address it. Send your letter to:
your U.S. senators
Washington, DC 20510
your U.S. representative
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Because of security procedures, your letter may take two to four weeks to reach Congress, so please plan accordingly.
Your letters will make an important difference for people who are hungry and poor.
Read more about Bread for the World's campaign to reform U.S. foreign assistance.what your organizer can do for you. And find out about events in your local community.