Fact Sheets and Action Alerts

The point of a fact sheet or action alert is to inform the reader about an issue (or counter misinformation) and get them to do something. More information than is needed to convince the reader wastes their time and risks losing their attention. Make it as easy as possible for the reader to take your action. If you want them to make a call, give them the number and tell them what to say. If you want a legislator to vote yes on a bill, give him the number and title.

  • One page is best
  • Make it readable – at least 12 point font
  • Keep the text brief
  • The most important information goes at the top – what the issue is, the main message and what action is needed
  • Give links for more information, don’t include details here
  • The fact sheet must be self-contained, do not refer to previous documents or assume the reader remembers the information
  • Use bullets and white space to organize information
  • Make the action crystal clear – bold, text boxes and graphics add emphasis
  • Give them all the tools they need to take action – do not say “call your legislator” and hope they figure it out, give them the website, email address or phone number

Related articles

Sample fact sheet 1

Sample fact sheet 2

How to testify at a Public Hearing

Effective Communications

Legislators ­ Who are They?

Collaborations and Coalitions

Writing to Policymakers

The Importance of Legislative Staff

How to work with a lobbyist

Research ­-- Finding and Using Data

Writing Op­Eds and Letters to the Editor

Tips on Public Speaking

Visiting with a Policymaker

Links

Communication Tools: Fact Sheets from the Center for Rural Health, University of North Dakota