US Senators and Representatives raise millions of dollars so they can be elected to represent your voice. The problem is, they can’t do their job effectively unless they hear from you. Elected officials will represent those who participate in the democratic process. That will include you only if you communicate your opinions.
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. But if you don’t communicate directly with your Members of Congress, in some format, 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 form 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. If you only have time to do one thing, please call.
#2 Connect with Congress Online
Most Senators and Representatives have social media pages: Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can post comments via social media as well. Using social media is a great resource to engage others and encourage people to take action as well.
#3 Visit Your Members of Congress
There is no time like the present! You can visit them in Washington or at their local state office. Contact their office to make an appointment. 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 share their thoughts. Be sure to share a personal story.
#4 Email a Letter to Congress
Inform Members of Congress what you want them to support. You need to be specific with your request or suggestion. 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
- “Like” and Share helps get the word out
- Get the latest scoop
- Learn what others have to say on a subject
- Show your support
Members of Congress are people, just like you and me. They ran for 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?
Media coverage– 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.
Public Sentiment– 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.