Write a Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor (LTE) is a great way to spread awareness about your issue. You can write letters to the editor of a local newspaper, online magazine, or blog to share your opinion, along with facts about the cause and details on how to get involved in your campaign.
Similar to writing an op-ed, your LTE can be focused on more of an emotional experience with your cause, or it could be more straightforward and fact-based. Keep in mind the readership of the outlet you are sending your LTE to in order to help determine what kind of writing style is most appropriate for your piece. Also, keep in mind that your LTE could take a stance of agreement with or opposition to the original piece you are responding to.
We’ve included an example LTE below, in response to a hypothetical article about the importance of SNAP incentive programs. Before we dive in, here are some key points to remember as you write your own letter:
- You can respond to any article that you feel relates to your cause as a hook to get the editor’s attention with your letter.
- Your LTE should be short and concise, up to 250 words max. Most publications have regulations around how long LTEs can be, so you can check with the editor of the publication you’re submitting your letter to.
- Include your name and contact information (including phone number) when you submit your letter. The publication will often call to verify that you truly submitted it.
- Create a title that offers a preview of your subject matter and attracts the attention of your audience.
- Talk about the issue from your perspective. Why is this important to you? Why do you think it would be important to people in your community?
Ex. SNAP incentives can help families in [STATE]
Make sure to include the author’s name, title, and date of the article, so that people can go back and read the original piece.
Regarding [AUTHOR’S NAME]’s article, [TITLE AND DATE OF ARTICLE]:
Include statistics and facts about the issue early on—this can help support your agreement or disagreement.
[AUTHOR’S NAME]‘s article on SNAP incentives opened my eyes to the significant impacts that these financial incentive programs can have on local economies and low-income families. As a [PARENT or CONCERNED MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY], I was surprised to read that 78% of SNAP benefits go towards households with children, people with disabilities and the elderly. As a result, I believe it is vital that SNAP incentive programs are [ESTABLISHED or BETTER FUNDED] in [STATE]. If we want to create a stronger future for our communities, broader access to fruits and vegetables is absolutely critical.
State whether you’re in agreement or disagreement with the article, and then make a few key points to explain why.
I believe [AUTHOR’S NAME] is right when [HE or SHE] says: [QUOTE FROM ARTICLE]. Studies show that these incentive programs are effective: SNAP participants who receive added financial incentives to purchase healthy options actually eat more fruits and vegetables. This not only benefits the health of our children, but also generates revenue for local grocery store owners and farmers. For every $1 spent in SNAP benefits, it generates approximately $1.79 for the economy.
Include a path forward, tying your cause to the article.
Here at [ORGANIZATION NAME], we support the funding of SNAP incentive programs to help strengthen communities throughout [STATE]. It’s our mission to ensure that every child has access to the nutritious foods that can ultimately determine their lifelong health, while helping revenues for local businesses.
Don’t forget to include a link to action, your organization’s website, or another site you want audiences to visit! This is how you convert readers into advocates for your cause.
Visit [ORGANIZATION NAME AND WEBSITE] to learn more about this important issue.
Be sure to sign your letter with your name, organization affiliation, or campaign name.
[ORGANIZATION LEADER OR MAIN POINT OF CONTACT]