How To Call Your Representatives in 3 Easy Steps

How To Call Your Representatives in 3 Easy Steps

2/16/17

Every time we’re up on the Hill, Senators and Representatives tell us they’ve never seen anything like it.  They’re flooded with phone calls from constituents like never before in history.  Their staff is working round the clock.  They can’t answer phones fast enough and all their voicemails are full. It’s been like this ever since the election, citizens are more determined than ever to make their voices heard. The volume is so high that it’s hard to keep up. Congress is impressed. 

Phone calls to Members of Congress are among the most effective ways of influencing government officials and every citizen has the right and responsibility to make those calls.  These calls are counted and their messages are conveyed to the people in power who can make change happen. Every phonecall matters. That’s how Congress knows what issues are important to their constituents and right now, they’re hearing plenty.  A member of Senator Chuck Schumer’s office reported that Congress is currently receiving more than a million-and-a-half phone calls per day.  One of those calls should be from you, right?

If you haven’t made a call to your Congressperson or Senator yet, it’s time you picked up the phone.  Trust us – it’s easier than you think.  Here’s how it goes:

1st  - Find out who your Representatives and Senators are and their contact information by logging on to WhoIsMyRepresentative.com

2nd - Plan your message.  It’s easy to make your call if you know exactly what to say.  Keep your message short and to-the-point. You won’t have much time and you won’t be speaking directly with your Representative.  Instead, you’ll speak with a staff member or your call will go to voicemail (Yes! Leave a message!).

If you’re planning a call on CARE’s behalf or in regard to a CARE-supported issue, we’re happy to help.  We can tell you who to call, what to say and how many CARE supporters are in your Representative’s district or state.  

 

  • Write your message down and say something like this:

 Hi, my name is______________ and I live in _________.

  • I’m a constituent of the Senator/Congressperson and a supporter of CARE, and I’m calling about________________.
  •  I want the Senator/Congressperson to know that I hope he/she will support/reject/demand/sign/vote for/sponsor/co-sponsor _____________________(name of bill or issue). 
  • I would like a written response from the Senator/Congressperson. My address is ______.
  • Thank you. 

 Here are a few mini-scripts you can use right now to make calls on CARE’s behalf:

 To support refugees:

 Hi, my name is _________________ I live in _________.

  • I’m a constituent of ____________(your Senator or Congressperson) and one of _______thousand CARE supporters (ask us - we’ll tell you how many) in his/her district.
  • I’m calling because I want Congressperson/Senator_____ to speak out against President Trump’s Executive Order to ban refugees

and

  • I want him/her to fully support humanitarian and foreign assistance and programs that assist refugees both in the United States and around the world.
  • I would like a written response from the Senator/Congressperson. My address is ______. 
  • Thank you. 

 To support women and children’s health:

  • Hi, my name is____________and I live in _________.
  • I’m calling because as a representative of CARE, the global humanitarian organization, I’m asking Congressperson/Senator______ to co-sponsor the Reach Every Mother and Child Act when it is introduced next Congress and help end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths by 2035.
  • I would like a written response from the Senator/Congressperson. My address is ______. 
  • Thank you.

 To fight violence against women:

  • Hi, my name is____________ and I live in __________.
  • I’m calling because as a representative of CARE, the global humanitarian organization, I’m asking Congressperson/Senator______ to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act when it is introduced and help create a global strategy that prevents and responds to violence against women and girls and advances the status of women and girls in U.S. foreign policy.
  • I would like a written response from the Senator/Congressperson. My address is ______.
  • Thank you.

 3rd – Pick up the phone and make the call!

 Be prepared to try a few times before your call is answered. Phone lines are flooded, but your call is still important. Be persistent. When your call goes through, always be polite and friendly and let whoever answers the phone know that you are a constituent. Then, read your script, say “thank you” and hang up. DONE!

Don’t forget to ask for a written response, that’s the best way to ensure your message is entered into the office’s correspondence system!

Calling your Representatives to voice your concerns is that easy. Don’t worry that you won’t know what to say or that the person who answers the phone will grill you for information you don’t know. They don’t have time for that.  Just make the call.  Then, keep calling and become a regular voice in your Representative’s ear.

 If you want to have a longer conversation either directly with your Representative or with someone on their staff, ask to speak with the scheduler and make an appointment for an in-district meeting.  Again, be persistent and leave a message if your call goes to voice mail.  Call again or email if you don’t hear back within a week.

  • If you’re part of the CARE Action Network and you’re scheduling a meeting on CARE’s behalf, make sure your Regional Advocacy Coordinator knows.  Your RAC will support you every step of the way from helping you schedule an in-district meeting to helping you craft your bullet points.  He or she may even be able to join you for your meeting. 

 If you’re not yet a member of the CARE Action Network, then join us. CARE and CARE Action have trained thousands of everyday citizens from all walks of life and every state to be effective poverty fighting, human rights lobbyists who help CARE achieve our mission. 

 We can’t do our job without citizen advocates and now, more than ever, we need you to add your voice.  Make the call, will you?

Ben Weingrod
Deputy Director of Citizen Advocacy
CARE Action