Community leaders and members of Congress receive many letters, emails and phone calls every year. They want to know what is important to their constituents. The following tips are provided to help you organize your thoughts and share your voice on issues that matter to you.
Tips for Calling a Congressional Office or Community Leader
- Do not expect to be able to personally speak to the leader/senator/representative.
- Before calling or emailing, have your message written in front of you and review it carefully so you know exactly what you want to say.
- Identify yourself as a constituent.
- State the purpose of your call/email. Keep the message simple and concise (focus on one issue per call).
- Thank the staffer for taking your call, share safe contact information so they can follow up with you.
Tips on Writing a Letter to a Member of Congress or Community Leader
- Be Direct. State the purpose of writing (e.g., community issue, name/number of bill).
- Identify yourself as a constituent (and, share any relevant information about yourself that relates the subject – for instance, if you’re contacting your school board member, let them know you are a parent with a child who attends a school within the district, etc.).
- Be Constructive. Offer recommendations.
- Be Political. Explain how the issue affects the district/state/country.
- Be Concise. Stick to one issue per letter (avoid "laundry list").
- Be Inquiring. Ask how the member stands on the issue.
- Be Available. Let him/her know that you are available to follow up.
- Be Appreciative. Thank your member for considering your concerns/request.
- There may also be opportunities for you to attend a local meeting (City Council, County Council, committee meeting, etc.) where you can address the topic or issue that matters to you.
Dear [Legislator/Community Leader Name],
My name is _________, and I am a constituent in your district/area. I would like to share my [thoughts/concerns] on [topic/issue you want to discuss]. This issue is important to me because [share a bit about your experience or your reason for interest on the topic/issue]. I feel that you could provide support in addressing this matter by [share how you would like the leader to assist…by supporting a legislative bill? Taking action to change a policy? Improve community systems?]. I would like to hear your thoughts on this topic and would appreciate the opportunity to [speak over the phone, talk with the leader in person, speak at a committee meeting, etc.]. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing back from you.
[Your name & safe contact information]