A guide to calling your legislator


A phone call is one of the best ways to make your views known to elected officials. It’s more effective than social media, email or even snail mail. A phone call demonstrates that you are highly engaged and deeply committed to your cause. Lawmakers take notice. So don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and make that call.

Here’s how to prepare and what to expect.

Prior to the call

  • Before making the call, take a few minutes to gather your thoughts and prepare what you want to say.
  • If you are using the UC Advocacy Network (UCAN) platform to make your calls, review the specific issue page to further familiarize yourself with the policy matter.

On the UCAN action page, after you fill in your contact information, you will be automatically connected with your legislator(s). There is also a call script that you can use to guide your conversation.

During the call

  • Expect to speak with a staff member, not your representative, and be prepared to provide your name, hometown and, possibly, your zip code.
  • Be concise and make your points clearly.
  • Always be polite in both tone and language.
  • Explain why you are calling and what action you would like your legislator to take (for example, that you would like them to support increased funding for federal financial aid programs.)
  • When possible, discuss the issue from a personal perspective — sharing your own experience or that of a family member or friend is especially powerful.
  • Thank the staff member for taking the time to talk with you.
  • Remember: Although you spoke with a staff member, your views will be conveyed to your representative.
  • Did you reach the office’s voicemail? That is OK: leave a message. Offices check their voice messages and keep track of constituent concerns.

After the call

  • Consider additional actions you can take on the issue: post on social media and tag your legislators(s) and/or email your legislator(s).
  • Call back again in a few days to restate your concerns and views and ask whether your lawmaker has committed to supporting your point of view.

Encourage family and friends to call their legislators, too.

Have questions? Email the UC Advocacy Network at advocacy@ucop.edu

Photo credit: iStock/jacoblund