Calling Your Elected Officials: Breaking it Down and Making it Easier

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Photo by miggslives, via Wikimedia Commons

I know that for some people, calling their representatives can be a daunting task. So here are a few tips for breaking it down and making it easier.

1) Today, if you haven’t done so already, look up your representatives’ phone numbers, and put them in your phone. Once they’re in your phone, calling is much easier. Start with your Senators and Congressperson. If you have the energy, then do your governor, state senators and representative, mayor, and city councilor or whatever they call that in your city. (If that’s overwhelming for one day, do your national reps today, your state reps tomorrow, and your local reps the next day.)

That’s it for today. You don’t have to make any phone calls today if you don’t have the energy. Just look up the numbers and put them in your phone.

2) Remember that when you call, you don’t have to give a speech on the issue, and you won’t be grilled on it. All you have to say is your name, zip code, and what you want them to do. If you like, you can give a short explanation of why you want them to do the thing, but you don’t have to.

3) If it helps, write a script ahead of time. Here’s an all-purpose one: “My name is X, I’m a constituent in zip code Y, I’m calling to ask you to do Z.”

4) If you have social anxiety or other obstacles to talking on the phone, call after hours and leave a message.

5) If social anxiety or other obstacles make this difficult or impossible for you, do the same thing but with email. Find your representatives’ email addresses and put them in your address book. That’s your step for today. When you send emails, again remember that you don’t have to give a long explanation of the issue: just say your name, zip code, and what you want them to do.

Phone calls are somewhat better than emails, but don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Any contact is better than no contact.

Hope this is helpful.

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Calling Your Elected Officials: Breaking it Down and Making it Easier