Advocacy Information

Members of Congress and their offices receive millions of letters, emails and phone calls every year. And — believe it or not — they really do want to know what is important to their constituents.

With that in mind, the following tips are provided to help you organize your thoughts and present a concise and persuasive message. Additional information is also provided in The Psychologists Guide to Advocacy (PDF, 2.1MB).

Tips for Calling a Congressional Office

  • Do not expect to be able to personally speak to your senator/representative.

  • Ask to speak with the legislative assistant responsible for the issue.

  • Be prepared. Before calling, have your message written in front of you and review it carefully so you know exactly what you want to say.

  • Identify yourself as a constituent (include title/position).

  • State the purpose of your call. Keep the message simple and concise.

  • Be courteous. Congressional staff work long hours — 10 to 12 hour days are not uncommon — and have many demands and pressures on their time.

  • Thank the staffer for taking your call and let him/her know you will follow up.

Tips on Writing a Letter to a Member of Congress

  • Be Direct. State the purpose of writing (e.g., name/number of bill).

  • Be Informative. Identify yourself as a constituent (title, university).

  • Be Constructive. Offer recommendations (don't blame, accuse, threaten).

  • Be Political. Explain how the issue effects the district/state/country.

  • Be Discriminating. Stick to one issue per letter (avoid "laundry list").

  • Be Inquiring. Ask how the member stands on the issue.

  • Be Available. Let him/her know that you are available to follow up.

  • Be Appreciative. Thank your member for considering your concerns/request.