How To Make A Phone Call

to your Member of Congress

Posted by OBS Team on March 1st, 2014

After you've reviewed our current advocacy campaign you will be participating in, one of the first things you will want to do is call your member of Congress. Whether you are new to advocacy or a veteran just looking for some extra tips, you have come to the right place!

Four Easy Steps To Call A Congressional Office

We asked some of our top grassroots activists what made their advocacy efforts easier for them. The common thread in all of their stories was that their personal phone calls to their member of Congress were carefully planned with 4 components in mind. Here they are:

1. Know Who You're Calling

You don't need to know everything about your member of Congress before reaching out to them, but you do need to know who they are. You can enter your zip code here to bring up a list of your members of Congress. 

Once you know who you will be calling, check out their website to learn a little about them and to get the phone number of their Washington D.C. office. Do they already have an opinion on Sudan? War? Human rights?

2. Create An Outline

Before you call, sit down for a second and write out a quick outline of what you will tell the Congressional staffer who answers the phone or for the voicemail. Here's a template outline you can start with:

  1. Your name and where you live. 
  2. Why you are calling and why you care about Sudan. 
  3. What you want the Member of Congress to do.
  4. Schedule a followup date and time.

Remember to be clear, concise, genuine, and respectful in your message. 

3. Make The Call

Odds are that when you call a Congressional office you will be talking to one of your Member of Congress' staff members. Don't worry, they'll be sure to pass your message along. If you're calling after hours, they'll get your message in the morning. 

Make sure you are calling their Washington D.C. office unless you already have a contact at a local office.

Throughout the call, remember to stay on point and be timely. Unless the staffer asks some questions, the call should take no longer than two minutes. Remember to follow your outline and to include the points we covered above. 

4. Remember to Followup

Forgetting to followup has been cited as one of the biggest reasons Members of Congress don't follow through with what you asked them to do. Followup sends a clear message that you aren't going away, but more importantly it keeps Sudan on the agenda. Members of Congress are busy people, and following up ensures that Sudan doesn't fall through the cracks. 

Be sure to call back, write an email, or meet at your district office, whatever followup you setup with the staff member on the phone. 

If you need help handling followup, we have some great resources available on our Advocacy Support page.

Tags: advocacy, South Sudan, Sudan

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