You might know our WriteToThem service as an easy way to contact your representatives – which it definitely is! But did you realise that it’s also doing heavier lifting, helping proposed legislation gain support in Parliament?
We’ve already seen how Power for People have mobilised their supporters this way: and Zero Hour is also running a successful campaign around a draft Bill.
Zero Hour’s campaign centres around the Climate and Ecology Bill, in which they lay out a comprehensive and joined-up approach to the climate and nature emergency. A cornerstone of their strategy relies on getting their supporters to contact their representatives and ask them for their backing.
We asked Amy McDonnell, co-Director of Zero Hour to give us a bit more background and to explain the thinking behind the Bill.
Amy explained, “It’s the only current or proposed legislation that tackles the interconnected nature-climate emergency together.
“We formed the campaign to provide a pathway to getting cross-party support for a legislative solution that will ensure that the UK delivers a science-led, people-powered plan on biodiversity and climate.”
We were interested to know more about how rallying individuals can pave the way to change.
Amy told us, “We’ve always depended on our grassroots movement. MPs really care about what their constituents think, and writing to them is incredibly impactful. Moving forwards, we know that we can only win with people on the ground by turbocharging our activity in Parliament.”
So how did they make the decision to bring WriteToThem onto their website?
“We knew that we needed an integrated tool on our site. The WriteToThem tool was key, as we recognise that people’s priorities are stretched and time is precious. So we used WriteToThem to ensure that supporters could contact the MP where they live with the click of a button.
“This has been incredibly effective, with thousands of our supporters asking their MPs to support the Climate and Ecology Bill. Having the mechanism to write to MPs with ease has been crucial to the success of the campaign to date, providing insightful responses and opening opportunities for our team to have engaging conversations with members of all political parties on how we can all work together to create an integrated strategy to tackle nature-climate emergency together.”
WriteToThem doesn’t allow for mass, identical messages from users, and we were curious to know whether that had created any kind of challenge. Quite the reverse, as it turns out:
“We’ve found that fewer, personalised messages are a lot more impactful than thousands of standard emails, which can easily be blocked and ignored.
“Our approach has always been to maximise not just the action taken by our supporters, but critically the impact that our supporters can make. Through providing guidance on how to personalise messages, we can avoid emails being dismissed or reaching spam folders.”
And that has a knock-on effect on the way campaigners feel about taking action.
“The effectiveness is leading to visible progress, and that’s critical in ensuring that subsequent supporters see there’s a point in taking action on the campaign. So, we created the tool in a way that allows them to craft a personal messages about why the CE Bill can deliver a prosperous, nature-rich UK, that benefits nature, jobs and health for all, in their own words — and it will go directly to the right representative.
“We know this has proven fruitful, as we commonly get meaningful responses from MPs which move the campaign forward — they can create an opportunity for further conversation about meeting our shared objectives on climate and nature.”
And WriteToThem helps in other fundamental ways, too:
“It reduces the barrier of users having to search for their MP’s details and contact them in a more manual way. It saves supporters time.
“We knew mySociety was a very reputable and trustworthy organisation that could deliver the reliability we required in providing functional tools to best engage with the political system and felt the tool was a perfect match to get the engagement we were seeking from the campaign. The choice to use WriteToThem has been instrumental in the success of our campaign.”
So would they recommend it to other campaigns looking to follow a similar model?
“Absolutely. We would wholeheartedly recommend campaigns utilise WriteToThem as it’s a reliable and convenient tool for ensuring your campaign is not only seen by a maximum number of representatives but also vitally providing engaged responses.
“We can say without question that the tool increased the frequency of our supporters contacting MPs. This has provided invaluable leverage; opened doors and raising the profile of the CE Bill for us to build support which now stretches across all major parties.”
“Frequently when we call MPs’ offices about events, briefings and other matters, office staff mention they have received numerous emails on the Climate and Ecology Bill, and that is a testament to the power of the WriteToThem tool, as MP’s have a large number of competing campaigns and prioritises in their inboxes daily. So, if you are looking for a way to easily connect supporters with their MP to increase awareness and engagement on key campaigns, it’s very effective.”
Well, we couldn’t hope for much more than that! We’re very glad to have helped underpin such an essential campaign.
For those who would like to be kept up to date with all Zero Hour’s activities, the best way is to sign up as a supporter.
Image: Nuno Vasco Rodrigues / Climate Visuals Countdown (CC by-nc-nd 4.0)