How to write an effective letter

Letter writing is a useful tool for advocacy and can add a greater sense of importance to an issue. Scroll down for the contact info of Canmore's mayor and council, and some relevant provincial elected officials.


Letters don't need to be long or fancy. 

IDEALLY, THEY SHOULDN'T BE LONGER THAN A PAGE.

Doing your best to keep your message clear and concise will help your reader to understand your position and points. 

TIP: when you think your letter is ready to go, read it back to yourself out loud. Then imagine you are on the other end, receiving the letter. Is there anything you would change?

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THE BASICS, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM:

  • Your address
  • Date
  • Name, title and address of the person you are writing 
  • "Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms"
  • Paragraph 1 — the purpose of the letter
  • Paragraph 2 — the situation and the facts
  • Paragraph 3 — offer suggestions or solutions and ask for help
  • Paragraph 4 — if appropriate for your situation, specifically request a personal response
  • Closing—"Yours truly" or "Yours sincerely"
  • Your signature
  • Your name
  • Your contact info

LETTER-WRITING TIPS

  1. Write the letter in your own words and use information that you are familiar with. 
  2. Be helpful—don't threaten: most people respond to threatening remarks by becoming defensive, and this won't help your cause.
  3. Explain how your solutions would benefit your community.
  4. Keep a copy of the letter and the response for your records. You might decide to write a follow-up letter if you are not satisfied with the response to your first letter. [source]

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