How To: Get a Staffer's Attention

Congressional offices receive a large quantity of mail every day, which can make it more difficult for our group's particular messages to receive the attention we think they deserve. Here are some tips for increasing the chance that your message reaches a staffer's notice:

TIMING
It is important that you send a message about our issue around the time it is going to see action in Congress. Many staffers screen out messages that concern issues that are not coming up within the next 48 hours.

BREVITY
Keep your message as short as you can while still getting your point across. Can the essence of your message be understood by someone reading it on their Blackberry?

RECOGNITION
Does the staffer you are targeting know who you are? A working relationship with a Member's staff can be a great advantage. If you have met with a staffer at a reception or other such event, be sure to let them know who you are and give them a business card, if you have one.

NO FAXES. NO POSTCARDS. NO BLOGS
Sending any of these to a Member's office is unlikely to get you anywhere. Staffers are too busy to sort through reams of fax paper, pick through hundreds of postcards, or surf the net for blogs. Also, leaving a voice mail without identifying yourself will only get the message deleted.

LOCAL COVERAGE
When it comes to raising the importance of an issue in the district, getting the local press to cover your issue locally is more important than a mention in a Capitol Hill publication. It raises awareness of the issue among constituents in the district. When voters get involved, the Member and staffers pay more attention to what is going on.

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