US Senators and Representatives raise millions of dollars to be elected to represent your voice: they can’t do their job effectively unless they hear from you. Elected officials will represent those who participate in the democratic process, and that will include you only if you speak out.
On any given day, or during a government shutdown, we may feel frustrated with our elected officials, feeling as if they are voting against our wishes. Despite this, it’s necessary to reach out to them. If you don’t communicate directly with your Members of Congress, they cannot possibly represent YOU.
There are five easy ways to make your voice heard:
#1 Call Your Members of Congress
From conversations with legislative staff we know 1 phone call from a constituent means more than 200 letters. Surveys show that only 20 calls from constituents are needed for a bill to get the attention of elected officials, so even if you fill out a form letter or send an email, please call, too. If you must choose only one option, please choose to call.
#2 Connect with Congress Online
Most Senators and Representatives have social media pages – commonly, Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can post comments and connect with officials through these (and possibly other) social media platforms. An advantage of this approach is that you can engage others and encourage them to take action as well.
#3 Visit Your Members of Congress
There is no time like the present! You can visit members of congress in Washington or at their local state office. Contact their office to make an appointment (or, if your congressman isn’t available, you can meet with a member of their staff). Many local offices also have hours for constituents to come in and speak about issues that concern them. Sharing your personal stories during these visits leaves a lasting impression, so be sure to express your thoughts.
#4 Email a Letter to Congress
Inform Members of Congress of the causes you want them to support. Be specific with your requests or suggestions; the more information you provide, the easier it is for them to advocate on your behalf.
#5 Be a Part of the Community
- Connect with us on Social Media:
- Likes and Shares help spread information
- Keep yourself updated
- Learn what others have to say on a subject
- Show your support
Members of Congress are not unreachable. They take office to listen and take action on our behalf. Make sure your voice is heard so you can be represented.
Know Your Audience
Who are your legislators and from where do they come? What have they done on your issue? What else can they do on your behalf?
Do Your Homework
Be prepared to answer as many questions as you can. Anticipate the types of questions that might be asked of you.
Help Us Help You
Make sure you have plenty of details about your proposal ready to go. This will allow you to make a more compelling case for your proposal.
*Fertility Within Reach provides resources to support your conversations related to the affordability of infertility health benefits.
Tell personal stories. Legislators like to hear them. Does the legislator already have a family member or friend who has been touched by this issue?
The Get Along Gang
Build a strong coalition. The less support you demonstrate for your initiative, the more your legislators must “go out on a limb” in order to help you.
*Ask your family/friends to join you. Your own social media outreach can help you coordinate efforts.
While it’s not good practice to inundate legislator’s offices with your calls, visits and correspondence, its good practice to show your interest in an issue by keeping in touch.
Timing is Everything
Is this an election year? If so, how might that influence the legislation or programs for which you are advocating?
If you want to get press coverage for your issue, give the media plenty of advance notice and target reporters who are likely to write about a topic.
Understand how the public feels about your issue. This will help determine how legislators might act on it.
For additional support, please visit the Fertility Within Reach website for step-by-step instructions and additional information to support your efforts.
Fertility Within Reach would like to thank Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian and the organization Children in Families First for their empowering words.