Get involved, take action, use your voice and help us transform the world for children.
How to Write a Letter to Your Member of Parliament
Writing a letter to your Member of Parliament (MP) is a simple and effective way to create change on an issue you're passionate about. If many voices are all calling for the same change, then politicians have to listen. Once they have received a certain number of letters on the same issue they are compelled to act.
Step 1: identify the MP you want to write to. Search for your local MP's office and contact details or see the full list of Members of Parliament. Address the letter using their correct name and title. Introduce yourself briefly in the introductory sentence.
Step 2: state the change you want to see. For example, you may like to see an increase in Australia's aid budget next year. This change should be clearly stated as the opening sentence in your letter. For example: "I am writing to urge your support for ..."
Step 3: focus on one issue only. Explain the issue and why you feel it's important. Make sure you're supporting your opinion and personal views with facts.
Step 4: keep it short and sharp. Stay focused and stick to your main point. Ensure your letter is polite, use your own words and don't forget to include your contact details.
Step 5: keep track of what happens next. Be patient in receiving your reply. If it has been more than a month follow-up on your letter by contacting the MP's office.
How to Write a Letter to the Editor
Writing a letter to the editor can be a great way to get your voice heard and create awareness about the issue you're passionate about. Be timely and topical.
Step 1: open your letter with 'Dear Editor' or the title of the newspaper.
Step 2: succinctly state your argument (for example: "I do not believe that the Australian Government should withhold aid budget increases"). Stick to one topic or issue.
Step 3: present relevant facts and figures and focus on the What and the Why. Provide your evidence (for example: "Financial bailouts cost governments more than four times the total aid budget this year alone").
Step 4: finish the letter by restating your position (for example: "Don't let the Australian Government go back on its word on the Australian aid budget").
Step 5: make sure you've stayed within the newspaper's word limit; edit your letter if necessary. And don’t forget to include your contact details.
How to Write an Opinion Piece
A good opinion piece is timely, topical and engaging to read. It also needs to be short and sharp to grab the attention of the reader.
Step 1: identify a topic or issue you're passionate about. Stick to one topic or issue only.
Step 2: plan out what it is you want to say and how you are going to support your claims.
Step 3: write your opinion piece. Be opinionated! This basic structure can be a good starting point:
- Title: this should catch the reader's eye.
- Introduction: this should be short, sharp and succinct. It should introduce the topic and your contention.
- Content: there are so many different styles for opinion pieces that you can create, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It's important to remember when writing the body of the article that you keep your points concise and provide evidence to support your claims throughout the article.
How to Write a Blog
Blogging is a great way to get your voice heard and bring your ideas and views on child rights and poverty to a fun and interactive space.
Step 1: define your goal or objective in writing a blog.
Step 2: choose a powerful title. The better the title, the more readers you will attract.
Step 3: make sure you know who your audience is. The content and design of your blog should reflect who it is you are trying to engage.
Step 4: gather your images and content together. Starting each post with a photo is a great way to encourage people to read and share your blog post.
Step 5: engage your readers. Ending your blog post by posing a question or asking for their opinion on something can be a great way to spark their interest.
Step 6: be persistent in post writing. By ensuring a steady stream of posts you are far more likely to find a captive audience.
Step 7: if at first you fail and no one reads your blog, try again!
- Try to use interesting points to generate interest.
- Get familiar with the blogosphere.
- Strive for innovation.
- Be persistent and consistent in your blog posts.
- Get creative to maximise visibility in the blogosphere.
- Keep yourself well informed and keep your content timely and accurate.
Some 'Must Read' Blogs
Alertnet – the world’s humanitarian news site
Oaktree Foundation – young people working together to end global poverty
Humanitarian Jobs – getting a start in humanitarian aid work
How to Start a Conversation About Child Rights
It's believed that people speak about 17,000 words per day. This sounds like a lot but words are one of those amazing things that cost us nothing yet can have a huge impact.
Sometimes all it takes is a few great statistics to get us started. For example. did you know that according to Plan’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign:
- There are 75 million girls not attending primary school.
- As many as 150 million girls and young women under 18 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact.
- Thousands of girls marry at a very young age before their bodies are fully formed. For example, in Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea and Niger more than 60% become child brides.
Knowing your numbers is the secret to success and this goes not only in a business environment but in talking about child rights as well. Remember to always keep in mind that behind these statistics are faces and families – people just like us.
So let’s get talking!