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Letter Writing Campaigns with Email Links

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mailto links that include subject, body and CCs (e.g. <a href="mailto:name@domain.com?&subject=HelloWorld&body=Hi">send email</a>) turn out to be a great way to streamline the process of writing to elected officials, like this:

Example of a email link with details
  1. Create a landing page with information about the issue
  2. Add mailto links that have include the subject, body and CC
  3. Distribute the landing page link via normal means

The results are quite positive. In one case, my city councilor reported they got 70 “letters” (emails) in just a few hours about a local issue.

Why does this work?

Even today, it is commonplace for elected officials to track constituent calls, letters and emails with a simple YES/NO tally for a given bill. So when a group wants to advocate for a policy, they must get supporters to write or call and reference the bill.

These days most people are on their phones scrolling through texts, emails or social feeds. They’re not likely to do the tedious task of looking up a politicians’ phone number or email, then switching back to writing an email, then switching to reading an email with the bill number, then back to writing, then maybe looking up another email to CC. They’re also not about to download an app or register an account somewhere. But they will click links!

However while the existence of email links it widely known, it is rare that they are implemented with parameters like CC, subject and body. By implementing these fields, advocacy groups can ensure that mails that reference specific bill names/IDs get sent to the proper addresses. This is perhaps because mailto links fell out of fashion in the desktop era, since not all users had a mail client configured and so web forms became commonplace. However, in the smartphone era, almost everyone has a Mail client.

Creating such links is easy.

You could read the RFC6068 (which obsoletes the original 1998 spec!) or this piece from MDN on creating email links, but the easiest way is to just use a site like https://mailtolink.me/

Let me know if you have any questions.

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