A Dozen Ways to Say Thank You
Thanking your elected officials when they do something right is an important step towards building a long-term relationship you can call on time and again. If your members of Congress are on the list of easement incentive co-sponsors, please find a way to say thank you today!
While these ideas and templates specifically reference Congress and the enhanced easement incentive, they're great ideas for thanking any public official who lends you a hand!
- Call. It sounds old fashioned, but this is still the best way to reach staff on Capitol Hill and convey your message. Reach your Senators or Representative through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the staffer handling tax or environmental issues. Thank them for co-sponsoring H.R. 2807 or S. 526, tell them how important the incentive is for your work and urge them to reach out to their colleague, Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and ask him to make the conservation tax incentive permanent before it expires December 31st.
- Say thank you on your land trust's homepage: Post some kind of thank you statement on your organization’s homepage, it could be a banner, a simple tweet, or a link to something more substantial like a press release or newsletter article. While a way to say thanks in its own right, doing this is also an excuse to promote your webpage via your legislator’s extensive social media following.
- Send a tweet “mentioning” your legislator and saying thank you. Here’s an example: “Thank you @Rep'sHandle for sponsoring #HR2807 to save tax incentives for #conservation of STATE's farms & forests: www.YourPage.org.”
- Get creative with Facebook. Every legislator manages their Facebook presence a bit differently. Search for their Facebook wall, and ideally you’ll see a box labeled “Post” on the upper left (you may need to “Like” them first). Many legislators disable this function, but you can still post to your own wall and send a message encouraging them to “share” it. Facebook is a visual medium, so get creative with links to photos of completed projects or recent news clips.
- Say thanks in-person, preferably at a conserved property. No other thank-you can compare to the one they hear from a landowner who benefited from the incentive. Invite your representative and their staff to see the incentive in action. View our guide to hosting such an event and see recent examples. Even if you can't get your Rep. to attend an event of your own, they're back in the district almost every weekend. Call their district office and arrange an in-district meeting for a quick thank you photo-op. You can also ask about public events like town halls or pancake breakfasts where your supporters can say thank you in person.
- Host a media event and present an award. A media event is a great opportunity to praise their leadership. Our guide to hosting a public education event has sample materials useful for inviting media to anything from a landowner forum to a tour of conserved properties. Such an event is a great opportunity to present an award, like a framed print of a conserved property. Moreover, the promise of an award may help your event or meeting get on their schedule.
- Send out a Press Release praising your Representative's leadership on this issue and informing landowners about the expiring incentive. (Be sure to send your Rep. a copy too.) View a sample.
- Submit a letter-to-the-editor to your local newspaper. Even if your letter doesn't get published, send a copy to your Representative so they know you’re trying. View a sample.
- Co-author an op-ed with your representative. View a great example that Sherri Evans-Stanton of Brandywine Conservancy did with Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA).
- Run an article in your newsletter AND theirs! Start with an article thanking your rep in your newsletter. Then share it with your Rep.'s press secretary and urge them to take credit for the incentive by running a story about it in the newsletter they send to thousands of constituents. This is a win-win since they get credit for helping landowners and you get free publicity to every mailbox in the district. You can offer to draft the story and send photos of conserved properties.
- Get your easement donors to send thank you letters. Ask a few of your easement donors who benefited from the incentive to send thank you letters to their Representative. View a sample.
- Send a thank you letter from your organization. Letters are a great way to organize your ideas and present them persuasively, but they're often ignored unless you follow-up. Please fax your letter and follow-up to staff by phone in a day or two. View a sample.
Please send examples and pictures to email@example.com when you put these ideas to good use. Thanks for helping!