Community advocacy and lobbying often comes down to a numbers game — how many constituents call their state and national representatives to take a position on issues can sometimes sway legislators.
But an elected official’s position can be impacted by a single constituent’s personal story or good data.
Here are a few tips to help you be most effective in contacting state and national legislators.
Tips For Contacting Your Elected Representatives
- Be sure you are contacting the right person. Contact state representatives & senators about state issues; contact United States representatives & senators about national issues.
- Contact your own representatives only. Legislators care about their constituents. Only call your own legislator, UNLESS you are contacting members of a committee of legislators that represents the larger legislative body.
- Always mention when you are a constituent. If you are not a constituent
- Get to the point quickly.
- Be polite, calm and respectful.
Contacting Your State Legislators
- Emails and texts are more effective than calls for contacting state legislators during the state legislative session because of their limited staff.
- Keep your email or text very short — 2-3 sentences at the most. Get right to the point, starting in the subject line of the email. For example: “Vote YES To Support Passenger Rail”
- ALWAYS mention if you are a constituent. Please contact your own legislator only unless you are contacting committee members that will be hearing and deciding on a bill.
- Always use a bill’s full name if you are contacting your legislator about a specific bill. Legislators are juggling hundreds of bills and won’t always know bills by their number.
- Be polite, calm and respectful. During the legislative session you may be reaching an intern who processes emails and texts for your legislator on a temporary basis. During the rest of the year you will be reaching out directly to your legislator. Try to build rapport with your legislator in order to have civil conversations that allow you to be more effective than angry tirades.
Contacting Your National Legislators
Please check out these two excellent resources for the most valuable tips on contacting members of Congress: