How to be an advocate

Our office has developed a set of handy one-pagers as a resource for you. They are available online, in both English and Spanish, here (click on “How to be an advocate”).

  • Biblical basis for advocacy
  • How to meet with your legislators
  • How to contact Congress (tips for phone calls, emails)
  • Getting your message out (social media, letters to the editor, town halls)
  • How a bill becomes law

We hope you will find these helpful. Here are a few key points:

Meeting with your legislators

  • Schedule ahead. It is easiest to meet with your legislator in person during a congressional recess. Congressional calendars are online at house.gov and senate.gov.
  • Prepare for your meeting by researching the topic, noting your representative’s position and the current status of the legislation you want to discuss.
  • Assign roles if you are visiting as a group.
  • Be flexible and respectful. Keep your main message clear and concise. Include personal stories. Listen well and ask them questions.
  • Leave materials. Bring supporting materials to leave with the person(s) you meet.
  • Follow up. Thank them for meeting and reiterate your position. Let us know how it went!

Phone calls and emails

  • Identify yourself as a constituent.
  • Keep it short and focus on one subject.
  • State your purpose and be clear what action you are asking the member of Congress to take.
  • Personalize your message. Include personal stories and connections to your district.
  • Say “well done.” Take time to thank your members of Congress when they vote the way you wanted!

Social media

  • Facebook: Monitor and contribute comments to your legislator’s official Facebook page. Post things you find meaningful and helpful and tag your lawmaker when relevant.
  • Twitter: Send your members of Congress a direct tweet or mention them in your tweet.

Letters to the editor

  • Respond quickly. Connect your first sentence to a recent article or editorial.
  • Keep it short. Aim for 100-200 words.
  • Focus on one issue. State your point clearly and include a personal story.
  • Refer to your legislator by name: “That is why I urge Rep. Williams to support this legislation.”

Town halls and other public events

  • Find out when your legislator will be participating in a public event.
  • Come prepared with one or two clear, well-worded questions to ask. Ask an open-ended question that requires more than a “yes” or “no” answer.
  • Try to speak directly to the legislator before or after the event.