Writing a letter to Congress is a great way to contact your legislator. Advocacy letters show you are passionate about your issue and staffers can show them to your representative if you make a good impression.
A personalized, hand-written letter shows your member of Congress that you care enough about your issue to sit down and write a handwritten letter about your issue.
Showing that you care is important because if you care enough about the issue to write a letter about it, it probably means you also care enough that it will impact your vote.
Unfortunately, when you mail your letter to Congress, it takes a long time to reach them. That is because when Congress started receiving letters that had anthrax and other harmful substances inside, all external letters started to get screened for harmful substances before being delivered.
If your issue is time-sensitive (meaning there is an upcoming vote or hearing regarding your issue), then mailing a physical letter may not be the best bet.
Your advocacy letter could reasonably take a couple of months to reach your representative's office and you will miss your chance to get your voice heard before the voting deadline.
Because of this, many people think writing an email is a good alternative. Emails are sent immediately and the emails get checked regularly by staffers and you normally get a response.
However, emails are not as effective as letters. They are not as personal and they can get lost in the shuffle. General email addresses gets hundreds of messages a day and it is difficult for staffers to verify that the people writing them are actual constituents. The general email inbox is also where the form emails get sent, which could cause your message to get missed in the noise.
That is why we recommend faxing your letter to Congress!
We know most people don't use fax machines, but all Congressional offices still have them. Because of this, faxes are a great way to contact Congress.
Faxes are delivered to the member’s office instantly, and at the same time, they show that you sat down and hand wrote your letter.
If the issue is time-sensitive, you can write your letter about it and fax it over and it will most likely get read on the same day. This is why we think faxing a handwritten letter is one of the best ways to influence your member of Congress and/or their staff.
Billy is the Co-founder and CEO of Lobbyists 4 Good, the first crowdfunding platform that allows everyday Americans to hire lobbyists. The opinions in this blog post are his and do not represent the position of Lobbyists 4 Good.