Tips for all written communication
- Substance and style matter. Proofread, edit, and manually check your spelling and your grammar. Presentation is an important part of your message.
- Include your return US Postal address in your letter/email signature block, so the legislator can respond to you. Envelopes are not always retained.
- Review your default backgrounds, wallpaper, pithy quotes, etc. in your email before sending your message. Your email may be printed or copied -- it should be legible in other formats.
- Avoid attachments. With viruses running rampant, messages with attachments may be discarded unopened.
- Identify yourself as a constituent – that you live in the district.
Students please note: If you are an in-state student, make sure you are registered in your home district and communicate with your home legislators.
If you are an out-of-state student, consider registering to vote in Massachusetts and use your school address as your "home" address.
Many legislators have an automatic response message indicating that due to the volume of email they receive; they only respond to constituents. If you are not a constituent, your message may not be acknowledged by the legislator.
The email system at the State House is very sensitive, and may return your email, if it was sent to multiple state house addresses. You may have to re-send your email to individual addresses.
Things to remember:
- Be concrete and concise.
- Make your point and support it with examples.
- Constituents have their legislator's attention.
- Clearly state the purpose of your email in the subject line.
The subject is an important part of your message -- use it to your advantage.
- Consider the recipient’s perspective – is your subject clear? Would you delete it, if you received it from a stranger? Does it look like SPAM? If so, revise your subject line.
- Support your case with 3-5 clear points. Focus on the value and impact of UMass Amherst, as you share your story – describe your personal connection to the university and why UMass Amherst matters to you.
- Thank your legislator for past support of UMass. The university's budget is approved each year by all members of the House and Senate.
Thank you for your UMass Amherst Advocacy.