WRITING YOU OWN TEXT
A SHORT GUIDE FOR PROACT CAMPAIGNERS
Although most of the personal texts which are copied to Proact are well thought out and convincingly express the personal convictions of the writer, a small minority range from very general comments to (sadly) unsigned abuse. If you are serious about conservation then you can afford the time to either use the Proact texts provided with your own personal amendments or embellishments or compose your own letter or mail based on the facts outlined in the campaign. Here are a few tips:
Why write a personal letter at all?
Writing a personal letter or mail can add to the impact of a campaign. Officials, agencies or companies receiving the same text hundreds are likely to start ignoring them and will almost never reply.
To whom should I write?
To as many of the listed addresses as you have time. Those listed on the Proact site are of equal importance. A brief, polite letter or mail to each targeted official is more effective than a long letter to just one.
Please do not address your mails, letters or messages of general discontent or disgust to Proact. We are the campaign organisers not the targets.
SUBJECT & ADDRESS
What do I put as subject and address?
The full name, title, postal and email address(es) are, when known, always given in full on the Proact campaign page. For letters use the full address given. In emails the name and title/appointment should suffice, e.g.:
Mrs Margot Wallstrom
Commissioner for the Environment, European Union
Dear Mrs Wallstrom (or national equivalent)
The subject is important, especially in emails, as it assures that the correspondence is passed to the correct recipient or department. In a letter it can be put before the main text; in an email as subject line (but can also be repeated in the text).
Make the subject text as personal as you like; but never abusive and always with reference to the main point of the campaign No Airport at Newtown
Never leave the subject line blank in an email. Some filter programmes will treat the mail as spam and how do you treat mails which have no subject?
Please copy mails and letters to Proact and the local conservation organisation if requested. It raises the morale of all concerned to see support coming in!
Which language should I use?
Unless you are copying part of the Proact texts as the basis of your letter you should use, in order of priority:
– the local language (the best solution)
– English (always if you are in doubt or are not fluent in the local language)
– your own language (within limits! Letters in Icelandic to the Kazakhstan Minister of the Environment might never be translated)
What should I put in the text?
– Who you are and why you care (a nature lover/professional biologist/grandfather of 5 who is concerned about the destruction of our common natural resources).
– state that you are writing in support of the local communities and organizations that are working to protect the environment.
– Include the specific points that are listed in the Proact campaign text.
– Suggest why it is in the interest of the corporation, agency or government to prevent environmental destruction (long term loss for short term gain; destruction of natural resources for future generations etc.,)
– Applaud any positive environmental steps taken by the targeted corporation, agency, or government. Proact will advise on this as necessary.
– Stick to the facts, dont be rude and avoid political or ideological issues unless these are specifically recommended.
– Ask for a reply to your letter. Pass on any responses to the campaign initiator (usually Proact if not otherwise stated) as not all correspondents receive a reply! This is especially useful for any follow-up campaigns.
SALUTATION AND SIGNATURE
End the letter or mail politely according to national etiquette (Yours faithfully etc.,) . Add your full name and your postal address and signature and the date if sending by post.
Have fun and thanks,