Writing to Party Leaders
Writing to party leaders is important to introduce The Arthritis Society and its advocacy priorities. Guidance for writing to party leaders both with (2.4A) and without (2.4B) an election questionnaire is provided. If your province/territory is in the Initial or Early level of advocacy, please use the Model Cover Letter to Leaders. If your province/territory is in the Basic or Advanced stage, you may wish to use the Model Cover Letter to Leaders or create your own cover letter, for which guidance is provided below.
Writing to party leaders to cover the questionnaire
: Model Questions Package: Cover Letter to Leaders [PDF]
The cover letter of the questionnaire is important in helping the leaders understand from whom the questionnaire is coming, and sets the impetus for the leader to respond with commitments. Letters to party leaders should be signed by the Executive Director. Remember to remain non-partisan as champions for arthritis issues can come from any party. The questionnaire, without talking points attached, should be included with the letter and mailed as soon as possible after the election is called. You may also e-mail the letter to the leaders.
Guidance for Writing to Party Leaders
The introductory paragraph establishes your division as a stakeholder that is to be taken seriously. This paragraph should contain a prevalence statistic, and remind the leader about any contact he/she has had with staff or volunteers in your division. It should also include a "thank you" if the leader's party has worked with your province/territory to achieve any goals or provided funding for projects.
The body paragraph requests that the leader respond to the questionnaire and sets a due date, within two weeks of writing. You may also ask the leader for a contact person to communicate with. This person should also be able to transition you from campaign staff to office staff once the election period is over. Make sure that the leader knows their responses will be communicated publicly. Finally, you may also want to add a sentence about communicating after Election Day.
The final paragraph describes the activities of your province/territory, cementing the idea that The Arthritis Society is a stakeholder with whom a relationship should be built and/or maintained. Your province/territory may have existing communications material that already have a useful blurb to include here.
Extra activity: Writing to Ministers and Critics
A final option is to send the questionnaire (without talking points) to the minister of health (or any other appropriate minister) and their respective critics. The cover letter to ministers and critics should follow the same formula as the leader's letter. Remember that sending to their ministerial or parliamentary addresses is not an option – you must locate their local campaign offices. This information is often available under the "Team" tab on their party's website, including the address of the local campaign office and e-mail address.
Writing to party leaders to introduce The Arthritis Society
If your province or territory is not yet ready to use the model questions package, it is still important to write to the party leaders during the election period in order to introduce The Arthritis Society as a first step in building relationships. In the post-election period, leaders will likely remain leaders of their respective parties and writing to them in the election period will raise awareness. Follow the Model Letter to Party Leaders [PDF]
or use the guidance below.
Remember to remain non-partisan as champions for arthritis issues can come from any party. Letters to party leaders should be signed by the Executive Director. The elements of a letter to party leaders are:
The introductory paragraph at introduces The Arthritis Society as an important stakeholder and can include statistics, e.g. overall prevalence, expected prevalence in the future, number of people served by arthritis education programs.
The body paragraph states your provincial/territorial advocacy priorities (if any; use the Divisional Advocacy Priorities
if needed)., e.g. "over the course of the next four years, The Arthritis Society in Quebec will focus its advocacy efforts on ensuring that all Quebecoises have timely access to specialist care within a reasonable distance of home".
The final paragraph ties arthritis issues to the leader's priorities, noting synergies wherever possible and implies a future relationship, if applicable, e.g. "I look forward to a productive working relationship with you and your members in the future. Best of luck on the campaign trail."