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How to call Congress

“Call your Congresswoman! Call your Congressman!” If you’re new to activism this sounds way more overwhelming and intimidating than it actually is. I’m going to break down everything you need to know about how to call your member of Congress.

Why You Should Call Your Elected Officials

Calling your elected official is one the easiest and potentially most effective forms of activism. Because all constituent communication is logged – whether you call, email or write – your opinion is recorded. When a bill is getting a lot of attention, congressional offices tally the phone calls “for” and “against” to report to the member of Congress.

It’s important to remember that even if phone calls fail to sway your elected official, your opinion is valid and important. Your members of Congress work for you and represent you in Washington, DC. It’s important to let them know where you stand on issues that matter to you.

How to Call the Congressional Switchboard

The Congressional Switchboard phone number is 212-224-3121. Depending on what time of day you reach the Congressional Switchboard, you may speak to a live operator or an automated directory.

If an operator answers the phone, you need to know who you are trying to reach. For example, “Please connect me to Senator Sherrod Brown’s Office.” If you’re not sure who you’re calling, the operator will be able to look it up for you. You can also look up your Senators online by state and find your Representative by zip code.

Here’s what you can expect if you reach the Congressional Switchboard automation.

  1. Enter 1 to call a Senator or enter 2 for your Representative.
  2. Enter the zip code where you are registered to vote. (It is most effective to reach out to your member of Congress.) The automation will repeat the numbers you entered for accuracy and you’ll press 1 to confirm or 2 to re-enter.
  3. If you’re calling a Senator, you will choose between the two by pressing 1 or 2.
  4. If you’re calling a Representative, you press 1 to confirm.
  5. Next, it will connect you with the office you’re calling.
  6. Whether you speak to someone or leave a message, say your full name and zip code. For example, “My name is Kate Marsh Lord and I am a registered voter in 43235.” You can also leave your email or phone number and request a call back.
  7. Remember, the person answering the phone is likely a staffer who hears from constituents all day. Be respectful, firm and, as always, kind.

Tips for Calling Your Member of Congress

  • When Operation Amplify asks you to call your elected officials we will provide a script. When possible, put the message into your own words or incorporate a short personal story in support of the issue.
  • Whether using a script or not, make a few notes or bullet points before calling. They’ll give you confidence and ensure you won’t forget anything important.
  • If you’re not a fan of actually talking to people on the phone or want to avoid any chance of a confrontation, call after hours and leave a message.
  • Speak slowly and clearly. But, don’t be afraid to show emotion. It reflects how much you care about the issue.

Call Congress OA Shop Goods

Celebrate your activism and encourage others by sporting the Congressional Switchboard phone number on a tee, iPhone case or mug.

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