Many times we hear that a corporation we do business with or a public figure that we admire has done something that is disappointing. Many people mean to write to share their disapproval, but don’t know where to start. Others contact the organization, but their accusations don’t open a dialogue.
Here are some thoughts on how to write an effect protest letter.
1. Why are you writing?
An interview on TV, a product you find offensive, a news item – what was it that prompted you to start writing?
I noticed your company’s name on a list of corporate sponsors who fund Planned Parenthood.
2. Who are you? And what do you want?
If you are a customer, tell them, but be honest. Don’t over-inflate your importance. And then tell them what you are hoping to accomplish.
As a customer, I’m asking you to reconsider that support.
3. Why should they change their policy? How do they change their policy?
This might be as simple as, “In the future, please put clothes on the models in your ads.” Or it might require some investigation on your part. You don’t like when your gym plays explicit music in the weight room? Tell them some comparable stations that would serve their clientele without the profanity. (True story.)
There are numerous other health organizations that offer medical aid without profiting from abortion if you are looking for a place to donate. The reason PP is offensive is because, not only do they perform abortions, but they also do late term abortions and, as recent footage has revealed, it appears that sometimes the way they end the life of the fetus has more to do with the price of the organs available than the health of the mother.
4. What is at stake for them?
Here’s where people go batty. Please don’t threaten that you will never go into McDonald’s again. They won’t believe you. Unless you are in the position to actually cancel a subscription or membership, those kinds of threats aren’t very credible because boycotts don’t usually last. What is really at stake for the company is bad press, a bad association or a tarnishing of their brand. Believe me, they spend a lot of time worrying about their brand and they don’t want it sullied. Now, once again, use your common sense. There are brands that thrive on shocking advertising, content and products. Keep in mind their corporate identity when deciding how to approach the situation.
It’s my opinion that such practices do not represent the refreshing, fun image that your company has so carefully cultivated over the years. I want to associate Pepsi-Cola with a cold, delicious drink, not with shocking videos of doctors bargaining for baby parts.
5. Restate your request.
Be clear. What are you hoping they will do? Tell them again.
Please discontinue your support of Planned Parenthood.
6. Be civil. Thank them for their time.
In order to be effective you must appeal to their sense of decency and responsibility. If you are rude and unreasonable, they are much more likely to discredit your opinion. Besides, being polite is never wrong. And you don’t know but what the customer service rep answering your letter might be as offended by his company as you are.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
They say only a very, very few people take the time to write, so your letter or email will have a larger impact than you might imagine. So, get busy. Share your opinion in a factual, mannerly way.
(Edit 7/23/15 – The example letter was written to Coca-Cola because they appeared on PP’s list of corporate sponsors. They have since requested that PP remove their name from that list and claim that they don’t support them. Therefore, in the examples above I changed the corporation to Pepsi, who remains on their donor list at this time.)