Calling Elected Officials

Calling elected officials can be a great way to call and affect change on the issues you hold the most near and dear to your heart. Check out these tips before calling your official to advocate for arthritis research and treatment access.

There are often times when it’s appropriate and important for constituents to contact their elected officials in support of or in opposition to an issue or piece of legislation. Calling your member of Congress or state legislator is an effective way to advocate, especially when they are making a policy decision, an important vote is coming up or you’d like to see action on a piece of legislation. 

Before the call

It is essential to be prepared when you call your elected official’s office. This draft call script will help you frame your remarks. It’s equally important to do some research before contacting your elected official’s office. Try to find out their position on the issue so you can either thank them for their support, encourage them to change their position or provide further information. Be sure to have resources in front of you (such as a fact sheet and a copy of the legislation) so you can answer questions if necessary. Tailor this script to your specific advocacy needs. 

Contacting your elected official’s office for the first time can be a little intimidating. Follow these tips to settle your nerves and be the most effective Advocate you can be! 

During the Call

Show Respect

Treat staff with respect on the phone and in all written correspondence. Make sure you pronounce and spell the staff person’s name correctly.

Keep It Brief

Staff members are very busy and will appreciate you getting your point across clearly and quickly during your call.

Be Confident

Legislative staffers want to hear from you so they can help the elected official make informed policy decisions. Tell a brief personal story about why you hold your position and why the elected official should consider the position you hold.

Be Polite

Do not be defensive and do not attack the elected official or staff member.

Do Your Homework

Have supporting documents and data in front of you when you make your call. This can help with any questions they have

Be Honest

If you receive a question and don’t know the answer, don’t make one up. Tell the staffer you are happy to find the answer and will get back to them. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification.

Make Your Ask

Ask for a specific action from your elected official. Be clear about your request. Never leave a meeting without making a specific ask. DON’T GIVE UP. If you don’t get in touch with a staffer right away, keep trying.

 

After the Call

Follow Up

You should always send a follow-up thank you note or email, regardless of what was discussed in your phone call. If you offered to send your elected official’s staff member additional information about your issue, you should include:  

  • Your contact information, including full name, address, email and phone number
  • The issue or bill (including name and number) you would like to address
  • Your position on the issue or bill
  • Supporting facts
  • Personal story (if applicable)
  • The action you would like your elected official to take on the measure (like co-sponsoring a bill, voting in favor of or in opposition to a bill, moving a bill out of committee or taking a particular position on an issue)
  •  A sincere thank you and an offer to serve as a resource

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