Writing a brief letter to a legislator urging him or her to support a VSCPA position is extremely easy and effective. Legislators closely monitor incoming mail and are sensitive to the wishes of those constituents who take the time to write. They know these constituents are likely to vote and be active in the community. Reinforce the effectiveness of your letters by following up with a phone call to your legislator's district office.
- Write your letter as an individual, not as a Society or Chapter representative. Legislators want to hear from "real constituents," not organization officials.
- Write and mail your letter as soon as possible. Legislation can move quickly and legislators need to hear from you BEFORE they vote.
- Keep your letter brief and to the point. Letters should be no more than one page. A paragraph or two is fine.
- Stick to one or two issues and clearly identify them. A one-sentence description is fine. Give a bill number if you have one.
- Open your letter by clearly stating your position in the first paragraph. Follow up by giving reasons why the legislator should support your position.
- Personalize your letter. Let the legislator know how the legislation will affect you and the people and businesses you serve.
- Use a respectful tone in your letter. It's okay to disagree with the legislator, but never attack him or her personally.
- Always put your return address in the letter. You can use either your home or office address. If either is in the legislator's district, then use that as the return address.
- Always ask the legislator to write back to you with their position on the legislation you are writing about. We need to know where they stand.
- Conclude your letter by urging the legislator to take action in support of your position and thank him or her for taking the time to consider your views.
- If several CPAs are writing letters together, don't all write the exact same letter. Form letters are not effective.
- VERY IMPORTANT: Email or mail a copy of your letter and any correspondence you receive from the legislator to Emily Walker, Vice President, Advocacy, 4309 Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060.