September 22, 2023 | Kevin Donaldson
make your call count
Do your research. First and foremost, make sure you know exactly what it is you are calling about. It’s always a good idea to brush up with some reading about the issue before you make your call. To take it a step further, be sure to read perspectives from both sides of an issue, especially if it’s a contentious one. This can help you make a stronger case when you call your representative.
Know your facts and figures. One of the best ways to ensure your concern will be taken seriously is to provide your representative with facts, data, and statistics to back up your argument. Though they may already have access to these, it never hurts to remind them of the quantifiable impact you are advocating for, and it increases your credibility as a caller when you are able to offer evidence about your cause.
Decide who the best representative is for your issue. Before you make a phone call, you’ll want to determine which representatives have the most direct impact on the issues and policies you’re hoping to change. For example, if you chose to call a representative regarding a local policy, such as the Charlotte Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), you’ll want to call your city councilmember, not your U.S. Senator. Senators have very little to do with directly influencing local policy, and city councilmembers will have much more interest in listening to your perspective as it directly informs their decisions about how to vote for ordinances and policies.
Be polite and respectful but firm and confident. Keep your call brief and to the point. Representatives are more likely to listen to a message that succinctly lays out the problem, evidence, and proposed solution than a rambling message from an angry caller. This is especially true if your representative does not share your political affiliation. In your research, try to find something positive that your representative has done or voted for in your issue area. Then, you can thank them for their contribution before transitioning into your brief argument explaining why they should pay attention to the issue at hand.