Web site letter writing campaigns?
March 16, 2009 12:02 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to find web sites where I could send members of my organization to customize an email message that would then be sent to their proper Congressman.

I feel like I have been asked to do this a thousand times, but cannot find my way back to anything. I am on the board of an organization with 3000+ members around the US. We do not engage in direct lobbying, but in the course of sharing legislative news with members would like to be able to say "click this link to send a letter to congress." They could then customize a boilerplate note on the site and then the message would be routed to their member of congress.

I am not interested in an "internet petition" or whatnot, but something that actually submits individual messages to specific members. Some of the other ask.mefi posts related to this are a bit dated and I am looking for anything new. Thanks.
posted by cgk to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not entirely clear what it is you're after here, but...

Write Your Representative and this list of Senators allow you to choose your Congresscritter and provide a link to their email contact page. It's sort of backwards from what I understand of your description. They'll 'route' their message first, then compose it on their chosen Congressperson's contact page.
posted by carsonb at 12:11 PM on March 16, 2009

This is what I use. Although not a direct link - requires a drill down to get to your district.
posted by torquemaniac at 12:16 PM on March 16, 2009

For clarification:

1. I send an email to members saying IMPORTANT HOUSE BILL has passed and now needs to be funded. Please CLICK HERE to write your representative and let them know.

2. Member clicks, is taken to a screen with a template "IMPORTANT HOUSE BILL is really important letter" with some talking points for them to customize.

3. Member puts in their name and address, upon submission the web site sends it to the right member of congress.

The tools for finding and writing members of congress are good, but I am looking for something that takes it a step further and allows you to help people with their message. I swear I just got sent something like this through MoveOn or someone like that. Thanks for your contributions!
posted by cgk at 12:24 PM on March 16, 2009

I am betting you already have access to a good e-mail suite that allow you to track users and allows you to customize your message.

I would do a click-through e-mail to a page where you can have then fill out three or four CGI-enabled boxes (name, address) that would personalize a letter that's already been typed by your policy people.

I warn you not to make the mistake of making your constituents to the work. If you send out an action alert to 1,000 people, you are hoping there at ~100 actionable individuals and ~50 constituents who could be enabled to take action 25% of the time.

The e-mail should sent 'From the desk of..." your strongest enabling voice and the letter should be an action that person is already doing.

As a good follow-up, I would collate the names of people who utilized the action alert and create an internal first-responders pool to automate the process later on.
posted by parmanparman at 12:32 PM on March 16, 2009

I warn you not to make the mistake of making your constituents to the work


I warn you not to make the mistake of making your constituents do the work
posted by parmanparman at 12:33 PM on March 16, 2009

Sounds like you'll need an application of some sort that's backed by a database to sort out which representative to notify (based on address), their email address, etc. Not likely to be found for free anywhere. Also, most (if not all) representatives have fairly stringent requirements as to what is needed in an email correspondence to consider it valid (as opposed to spam - which it seems your proposed solution will generate) and I'm not sure that those requirements are universally uniform. Good luck!
posted by torquemaniac at 12:45 PM on March 16, 2009

How about Advocacy Online? I believe their service (specifically, e-activist) does what you want, including making it very easy to have the resulting e-mails sent to the right politicians based on the sender's address.
posted by FishBike at 12:46 PM on March 16, 2009

One of these days I will learn now to post a link correctly. Let's try again: e-activist.
posted by FishBike at 12:49 PM on March 16, 2009

posted by cereselle at 8:57 AM on March 17, 2009

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