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Publishing letters to the editor and op-eds is a great way to get the attention of your members of Congress. But first, you need to write a piece that tells your story – not just the facts.

Here’s your RAFT for engaging with the media:

Respond to Recent Reports

Find a news article or story that relates to the issue. Make sure you’re responding to a recent story or topic – no more than a few days old.

Ask for Action

Make a clear and specific ask to YOUR policymakers. It is critical that you mention your members of Congress by name or else they won’t see it.

Find the Facts

Illustrate your argument with one or two facts. Statistics can be helpful in moderation, but too many statistics can be confusing. Remember, your letter should tell your story!

Tie in Your Personal Story

Bring in your personal connection or moral approach to the issue. State your connections to the community as they’re relevant to the points you’re making and be sure to tie your letter to local issues in your community.

Letter to the Editor sample, with the various elements highlighted

Write Your Own Letter-to-the-Editor

Use our form to look up local papers and submit your letter-to-the-editor!

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Get Inspired

View past letters to the editor from our Advocacy Teams:

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Policy Questions?

If you are part of a specific FCNL advocacy program, you can find resources on our issues here:

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Tips for Submitting Letters to the Editor or Op-Eds

  • Keep it short: Newspapers are most likely to publish letters to the editor that are short and make one succinct point (that is supported with facts or quotes from validators!). Check the newspaper you’re submitting to for a word limit. If you go over the word limit your letter won’t be considered for publication. If you can’t find a limit, keep it to 150 words or fewer.

  • Write from your own voice: Your piece is more likely to get published if it comes from your voice. Don’t be afraid to tell your story and to appeal to the audience from the heart as well as the head.

  • Connect local issues: newspapers prioritize publishing letters on local issues. When writing about federal or international issues, make sure you connect it back to your local community. You can mention the importance of this issue to constituents, or the impact this issue has had on your local community.

  • Submit it to the newspaper: Submit the letter directly to the newspaper (most newspapers have an online submissions page) and follow up by phone or email if you don’t get a response within a week or two. Put the letter in the body of the email to make it easy for the editorial staff to read. As you submit your letter, don’t miss an opportunity to build a relationship with staff.

  • Coordinate submissions: editors are more likely to publish one or more letters on an issue if they believe that it’s an issue many individuals in your community care about. Coordinate with a group of advocates to submit unique letters to the paper on the same issue on the same day. It increases the chances that one or more of those letters get published!

  • What to do if your letter doesn’t get published: If you’ve waited 3-5 days and your local paper hasn’t published your letter, try submitting to other nearby papers or submit to your state capitol newspaper. Or, you can try to rework your letter and re-submit to your local paper.

You got published! What next?

  • Report Back: If you’re published, email a link to so we can track the impact. Part of an advocacy team? Click here to report your published letter!

  • Share your letter: Share your letter with others in your community!

  • Follow up: Getting published is a great hook to have a deeper conversation with your congressional office. Consider emailing it to a staffer you know or request a meeting with your legislator to continue the conversation.

  • Want to keep writing?: Great! Just be sure to wait 30-60 days to submit another letter to the paper that you published with.

  • Organize letter writing in your community: Get together with other local advocates to write and submit letters!