Kathryn Schulz’s investigation into what congressional staff do with contacts from constituents, leads to some rules of thumb about making yourself heard.
- If communication is your goal, write your own email, even if it’s very simple. Cut-and-paste text and signatures affixed to pre-written protests carry relatively little weight.
- Phone calls occupy staff and this gets attention. Mass phone-in campaigns also obstruct business as usual and attract media. A call that follows a script supplied by someone else will have less impact than if you state your own beliefs in your own words.
- Conventional mail is poor when timeliness is a concern. Delivery times are long and decontamination protocols at Congress cause further delays.
- Focus attention on your own congressional delegation or state or local representatives.
Be succinct about where you stand and what actions you want the official to take. Your position on a contentious issue is more important to someone who wants your vote than are your reasons for taking the position. See this as a relief: you do not have the burden of persuading. Elected representatives have the burden of courting you.
You can get contact information for persons in Congress at
One of the most effective approaches you can take is to actually meet with your member of congress. American Promise has provided the following recommendations for Meetings_with_Members_of_Congress.