This article (portion below) indicts the NGO email campaign racket. Fred Gardner also cites direct education and organizing as a more effective means of affecting policy; I think he has a point. Linda Whole article here: http://www.counterpunch.org/gardner08042007.html
"Last month Kampia [Exec. Dir. of one NGO for Medical Marijuana] got a $400,000 grant from Soros, who, till then, had donated exclusively to Ethan Nadelmann and the Drug Policy Alliance. There's no apparent ideological difference between the two brands.
"Both were busy during the 2006 campaign voicing support for the "War on Terror" and kissing rightwing butt (hobnobbing with Grover Norquist, etc.), which may explain why they've made so little headway with the new members of Congress. They zigged when they should have zagged.
"The real meaning of "write your member of Congress" is "pull your pud." The concerned citizen gets the satisfaction of having taken political action and thanks the reform group for enabling him or her to do it with just a few keystrokes. The implicit premise, reinforced with every pitch to write your member, is that we live in a functioning representative democracy -which we don't. Approximately one in 30 "representatives" is swayed by their mail on one in 30 votes -in other words, it's only one in 900 emails that might have any impact whatsoever. (Margin of error = ±2%)
"The medical marijuana movement would be much stronger today if a fraction of the money Kampia's MPP pissed away in Nevada alone -millions on failed ballot measures!- had been spent in California organizing teach-ins on every campus and bolstering the credibility of our serious pro-cannabis MDs. Sour grapes from the editor of the doctors' unfunded journal? Yes, but true nonetheless.