It’s not just your mother who would rather get a phone call from you than an email. Even a short phone call can make a big difference. It’s more personal than an email. It shows you care.
The same is true when you reach out to your elected officials about an issue you care about: sending an email helps, but making a call is even better. In fact, it’s the next best thing to visiting their office in person.
Why Calling Your Elected Officials Has More Impact
Any way that you communicate with an elected official is important. By taking action, you help hold them accountable to doing what you – their constituent – put them in office to do.
Emails and online petitions are the easiest, most direct way that people contact their elected officials – and that means that they get lots of emails. A member of Congress might get thousands of emails on a given issue, many of them similar or identical to each other. Their staff will tally up the messages received, and they weigh those totals in their decision about how to vote.
But emails are just one of many factors that they weigh. Unfortunately, the “voices” of corporations too often drown out those of the people they represent. As concerned constituents, we need to make sure they listen to us, not corporate lobbyists. Calling your elected official’s office takes an extra step, a little extra effort, that shows them how much this issue matters to you. Anyone could make a call, but most people don’t – so when you do, your elected official takes more notice.
What’s It Like to Call Your Member of Congress?
If you’ve never done it before, calling your member of Congress might seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be: it’s easy, and it only takes two minutes.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Dial the number.
If you call a number that Food & Water Watch has provided, you’ll hear a short message about the issue and what to say. We may prompt you for your zip code so we can connect you to the right legislator’s office.
Then someone in your elected official’s office will answer the phone – probably a staffer or an intern.
2. Keep it short and simple.
Think about why you’re calling and what you’ll say. It doesn’t have to be long – just a few sentences is enough to make your point. If it’s helpful, write down what you’ll say ahead of time, or use a script provided by Food & Water Watch.
Be sure to include:
- Your name
- Where you live (and that you’re a constituent)
- What issue you’re calling about
- How you want them to vote
“Hi, I’m Joe from Boston, Massachusetts. I’m calling because I’m concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will hurt our environment and put jobs at risk. I urge my representative to vote AGAINST the TPP.”
If you reach the office’s voicemail, that’s okay – just leave your message as you would deliver it to a real person. It still counts!
4. They will make note of your call.
The staffer should write down that you’ve called, and your position on the issue. Don’t expect them to tell you how the member plans to vote, but if they do, that’s great!
5. Report back to Food & Water Watch
Let us know that you made the call, especially if you learned how they plan to vote. That’s valuable information for us and other activists as we keep the pressure on.
6. Congratulate yourself on making a difference!
You did it! We hope you’ll continue to elevate your voice by calling your elected officials every chance you get.