If you want to make a difference, it is important to raise your voice. There are many ways to do so.
In this age of digital outreach, everyone has a voice and a platform. Social media provides the opportunity for one individual to spread his or her views in a quick, efficient and viral manner. Find the latest RMEF news releases and legislative calls to action as well as timely conservation, wildlife and hunting news at www.rmef.org. You can post that information directly to your social media platforms and also share posts from RMEF’s social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Online Forums/Chat Rooms
There are many popular online forums or chat rooms that allow users to share information. They are another avenue to state opinion and have a positive influence on others.
Be Real and Be Adult
While our passions for a particular issue may run high, there is no positive purpose served by using belligerent or threatening language or for making statements or comments that are not accurate or relevant to the issue at hand. Do not get distracted by some of the comments anti-hunters or the more radical environmental individuals may make about hunting, sportsmen or women, killing wild game for food and so forth. Stick to the facts and make your point in plain language. We have nothing to apologize for or hang our heads about because we hunt and support wildlife.
Providing Public Comment to State Wildlife Agencies
State wildlife agencies provide opportunities for residents to offer public comment on a wide range of topics including hunting and fishing regulations, rules, land acquisitions, development or enhancement projects, commission recommendations and other issues. You can have a say in shaping those final decisions that determine policy by providing written, verbal, email and online comment.
Attend Local Government Gatherings/Community Events
City councils and county commissions often seek public comment on timely community issues to assist them in the decision-making process. Seek out opportunities to attend those public meetings to provide input on hunting, wildlife and conservation-related topics. Set up a table or booth at a public gathering or community celebration to provide information and materials about RMEF and conservation. You can also support worthy efforts by attending public forums, discussions, rallies, speeches and other events. You may also choose to organize a public event yourself.RMEF has substantial interest in issues that come before the U.S. Congress, federal and state agencies and state legislatures. Legislation and agency budgets can have a tremendous impact on our mission.
RMEF engages on bills and regulations affecting land and wildlife management, funding for conservation programs, hunter recruitment and education measures, and other issues.
While RMEF staffers engage members of Congress and agency officials, our effectiveness depends on the voices of our 220,000 members. Officials must be provided accurate information about the issues before them from the people their decisions impact. Together, we can have a positive impact on decision makers to benefit elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.
Get Your Point Across
Writing a letter remains the best way to contact most state and federal officials. Members of Congress, high-ranking federal officials and some state officials do not have time to read every email message or post card sent their way. They typically have staff review and respond to letters and emails and are provided only a few letters or messages for their personal response. While staffers keep count of messages and post cards regarding certain issues, only personalized written letters truly capture their attention and the officials they represent. If you don’t have time to send a letter, by all means make your point with an original email or phone message. These will be noticed and will make a difference.
Proper Address Heading
The Honorable (full name)
(room #) (bldg. name) Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable (full name)
(room #) (bldg. name) House Office Bldg.
US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
What to Say
- Clearly describe the issue with which you’re concerned. Keep your message to one issue and one page. Include the appropriate bill number (i.e. SB1234 or HB 4321) or rule title.
- Clearly state your position on the issue.
- If possible, tell why this issue is important to you personally.
- Ask for support/opposition to the issue you described.
- Thank them for their consideration of your request and include your signature.
Give Them a Call
If you only have time for a brief message, but want to be heard, make a phone call. Be sure to provide your full name, organization and hometown to the staff answering your call. Keep in mind these people are the conduit between you and your representative. Treat them with respect, whether or not you’re calling to agree or disagree with their boss.
Go See Them
One of the biggest responsibilities of legislators and public officials is being accountable to citizens and constituents. If you really want to make sure your voice is heard, try to catch a member of Congress or agency official in their office or at a town meeting. Visits with staff at district offices are also helpful. Visits should follow the same guidelines as written communication. Emphasize a purpose, position, perspective, conclusion and closing.
When meeting an official or their staff in person:
- Know your position and, if possible, know your lawmaker’s position. If it’s opposite your position, have clear, legitimate counterpoints prepared.
- Understand public officials have many demands on their time. Be prompt for your meeting but patient enough to wait for your opportunity should they be late in arriving from another commitment.
- Plan to spend no more than 10-15 minutes on your issue—and keep your discussion to that topic.
- Most public officials will have a position on your issue. Let them have their say and actively listen to their perspective. If they’re opposed to your position, you will usually learn why they’re opposed and sometimes how to change their mind
- Make sure you conclude the meeting by asking them to consider your request to support or oppose the issue. If you’re asking for a signature on a letter or co-sponsorship of a bill, get a commitment from staff to follow up with that request.
- Always reply promptly and accurately if you agreed to provide any additional information to the official or staff. Always send a thank you note to the official and staff for taking time to meet with you.
Traditional media outlets still have significant influence and reach a broad audience via television, newspaper, radio, magazine, the Internet and other mediums
Contact Media Members
Many media members, especially those in smaller communities, are constantly seeking new stories to report to their audiences. Contact a newsroom, ask for a reporter and tell him or her about issues you care about and affect the local community. You can also forward news releases from www.rmef.org directly to them.
Letters to the Editor
Opinion pages –both online and print– are among a newspaper’s most popular offerings. Writing a letter to the editor is an effective outreach tool for advocacy. Check the newspaper’s website or call to determine its word count limit. Pick a timely issue, focus on one specific message, present it in an educated fashion without being crude or overly combative, highlight personal examples and include your contact information. If your letter is selected, share the link on your social media accounts.
Leave Interactive Comments
Most newspaper, television, radio and other online sites are interactive in nature and allow readers to leave a written comment. Such forums are well read and provide an additional avenue to promote causes and issues that are important to you.