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FACT SHEETS AND ACTION ALERTS

The point of a fact sheet or action alert is to get the reader to do something. More information than you need to convince them is a waste of the reader's time and risks losing their attention. Make it as easy as possible for them to take your action. If you want them to make a call, give them the number. If you want a legislator to vote yes on a bill, give him the bill number and title.

Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightening that does the work.

-- Mark Twain

  • One page is best
  • Make it readable - use at least 12 point font
  • Keep the text brief - no one wants to read tons of information in small font
  • Keep the most important information in the first paragraph - what the issue is, what action is needed, and label the main message(s)
  • Give references for more information - in electronic communications you can offer links
  • The fact sheet must be self-contained - do not refer to previous documents or assume that they remember the information
  • Use bullets when you can
  • Leave lots of white space
  • Make it very clear what you want them to do - Bold, text boxes, and graphics add emphasis
  • Give them all the tools they need to take the action - do not say "call your legislator" instead give them the numbers; give legislators the bill number you want them to vote for

RELATED ARTICLES

Sample fact sheet 1

Sample fact sheet 2

How to testify at a Public Hearing

Effective Communications

Legislators - Who are They?

Collaborations and Coalitions

Writing to Policymakers

The Importance of Legislative Staff

How to work with a lobbyist

Research - Finding and Using Data

Writing Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor

Tips on Public Speaking

Visiting with a Policymaker

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