These are guidelines to help you call a congressional office to express your views on any issue.
Simple and Effective Tips for Phone Calls
- If it makes you feel more comfortable or helps you organize your thoughts, write your key points on a piece of paper before you call.
- Ask the person to whom you speak for their name and title and write it down.
- Express how you feel, but avoid being confrontational or argumentative. Always remain polite and professional even if the person you are speaking with seems disinterested or hostile.
- Present your message clearly and simply.
- Get to the point quickly.
- Know what you want the member to do and ask them to do it. (“I want the congressperson to vote in favor of Legislation X.”)
- Ask again for the congressperson to take action.
- Let the staffer know that you will be following up.
- Using the person’s name, tell the staffer you will be calling them back to track the congressperson’s actions on the issue or legislation. (This will create greater responsibility for that particular staffer and will generate more of your comments going directly to the congressperson.)
- If the Congressperson or the staffer expresses something with which you agree, thank them.
- Lastly, be sure to follow up on your phone call. It is important for the congressperson to know that they will be held accountable.
Things to Expect When You Call
- You will most likely speak to a staffer, not the member of Congress. This is normal practice.
- They will generally ask for your name and contact information, primarily your zip code. This is how the office identifies that you live in their district. They cannot ask your citizenship status.
- Due to the volume of incoming calls, congressional offices frequently track only calls for or calls against many issues. Frequently, you will not be asked for any details other than whether you support or oppose the issue or legislation.
Want to know more? Need help or advice? Call CAIR and talk to our government affairs department.