Salsa Scoop 5 Tips for Getting Your Actions Noticed
5 Tips for Getting Your Actions NoticedSubmitted Thu Jan 06 2011 16:07:00 GMT-0500 (EST)
Members of Congress and other legislators get hundreds if not thousands of letters a day. Congresspeople even have Legislative Correspondents (LCs), people whose job it is simply to read, report on, and respond to the messages that are received. Senators and Members of the House of Representatives use software to organize the messages sent by their constituents.
What can you do to keep messages about your issue from getting lost in the rubble? Here are five tips for getting your voice heard by the people in charge:
1. Target, target, target! If you’ve ever called your Member of Congress on the phone, you’ll notice that one of the first things you’re asked for is your zip code. This is because the office wants to make sure you’re a constituent. If you’re not, you’ll be asked to call your Congressperson directly. The LC, who receives all the email, will not even look at messages from people who are not constituents. If you want to make sure your messages aren’t trashed, you have to target.
2. Be clear: identify the issue and your position right away. The LC uses software to sort messages, usually by issue, and you want to make sure it gets in the right spot. It’s a good idea to identify the issue and your position in the subject line.
3. Contact legislators with a variety of methods. Encourage your supporters to not only send an email but also to call, send faxes, and use snail mail. Encourage volunteers to set up in-person or teleconference meetings with the legislators. They could hand-deliver letters or petition signatures for an even bigger impact.
4. Use different content for different legislators. If you are supporting a bill, you may not want to necessarily email every legislator asking them to support the bill. For instance, the legislators sponsoring the bill do not need to be asked to vote yes. It might be better to send them a message thanking them for supporting the issue and encouraging future legislation. You also might use different language for those whose voting history suggests they might be less inclined to vote in favor as opposed to those who are more likely to be on the fence.
5. Personalize: Let your supporters personalize the messages they sent. I suggest creating a subject line that clearly states the issue and your position and leaving that locked. Then encourage your supporters to tell stories about why this issue is important to them. Legislators want to know how the issues affect their constituents.