Anyone who is suggesting or campaigning to protest should
encourage that protestors create their own letters and form
their own subject lines within the e-mail. Organizations take
e-mails with the same subject and content much less seriously
than unique emails. US senators often consider hundreds of
emails with the same subject line or body as one single
complaint. There is a process involved in constructing an
effective e-mail of complaint. You may use the suggestions when
asking people to take action.
I encourage organizations to post sample
letters because there are many people who might feel that they
are unable to compose their own e-mail. However, suggest that
your members or recipients use the letter as a guide and as a
last resort to cut and paste the content, but always have the
senders create their own subject lines. Perhaps it would be
good even to post several letters and several examples of
1. Subject lines should be unique, concise
and include key words.
2. Subject lines should be written in lower
and uppercase letters - never use all caps. All caps is the
equivalent of yelling and hostility and therefore the recipient
may disregard it.
3. The body of the e-mail or letter should be
unique and concise. For example if someone has a personal
experience that makes this situation hurtful, they should
include that experience in their letter without making their
experience overtake the intended message. The experience can be
one or two sentences but should not be one or two paragraphs.
The latter is appropriate for op-eds in newspapers but does
little to get the message across in letter-writing campaigns.
4. It should explain why the sender is
writing the letter in the first paragraph.
5. It should include positive statements as
well as address the issue.
6. It should include actions that the sender
would like to see take place (reasonable actions - include your
best-case action and your at the very least recommendation).
7. It should conclude with bridge-building,
positive, forward-looking statements (when possible).