Paper Pressure

Campaigners wishing to show the degree of public support for a given issue use paper-based methods to persuade public officials and decision-makers.

Politicians know that the voting population can appear apathetic - and they may be looking for a good local cause - so even two dozen letters about a poorly-planned cycletrack could have an effect Here are a few general guidelines to follow for maximum impact:

  • Make sure that as many people as possible feel able to support your cause. Double-check, for instance, that your message is suitably broad and will not antagonise potential supporters either this time round or later on. A petition that targets motorists might galvanise an opposing response which gathers more signatures than you do!
  • Ensure that the letters are sent to the right person or department. Nothing infuriates people more than receiving piles of correspondence about an issue that does not concern them.
  • Write professional, reasoned, concise and fair text. Avoid ranting.
  • Give an adequate but minimal time to get signatures or letters in. Twenty letters in a fortnight is better than three letters a week for two months, but too little time will make your campaign appear to lack support.
Petitions usually take the form of a 'we the undersigned' protest, support or pledge to boycott. Petitions can be a simple way to garner support, but will never be as effective as a well thought out letter writing campaign.
Pre-printed postcards that campaign members and the public can sign and send to highlight specific issues may help your cause. They generally have less weight than individually written letters, but require less effort on the part of the public.
Aimed at the same target as postcard campaigns, activists use letter writing campaigns to combine a show of support with detail and a more personal touch.
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  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
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