Phone calls are an effective way of communicating your views to your MOCs, particularly on hot-button issues of the day. Your MOCs are already getting lots of calls on such issues, and it’s important that your views get tallied along with those of other callers. For the phone numbers of your MOCs, visit their websites. Limit each call to a single issue.
Before calling, decide whether you just want to register your opinion for or against some pending action, or whether you want to have a substantive discussion with the MOC’s staff about it. If the issue has a high profile, such that the MOC is undoubtedly very aware of the arguments and your opinion is likely shared by many other callers, leaving a brief message (either on voice mail or with whoever answers the phone) is sufficient:
- Give your name, city, and zip code (so it’s clear you’re a constituent), and say you don’t need a response (so they can tally your call quickly).
- State your position in a single sentence, asking the MOC to support or oppose the pending action (including the name and number of the bill, if relevant).
- If you want to say why you hold that position, do so in a sentence or two; but it’s not necessary to give a reason, and the staff may not even have the time to write it down. If they’re being inundated with calls, they may simply note the number of pro and con messages they receive.
If the issue is one on which you want to have a substantive discussion with a member of the MOC’s staff, you’ll approach the call differently. We’ll assume for this example that your MOC has not yet taken a position on the issue, as far as you can tell from your research.
- Give your name, city, and zip code (so it’s clear you’re a constituent), state the general issue on which you’re calling, and ask to speak with the legislative aide who handles that issue for the MOC.
If the legislative aide is available:
- Introduce yourself to the aide, get his or her name, and explain why you’re calling. Include your specific “ask” (e.g., to support or oppose a particular bill identified by its name and number), the main reasons for your position, and why the issue is important to you (e.g., relating it to your personal experience or faith perspective) or how the issue affects people in the MOC’s district/state.
- Ask where the MOC stands on the issue. If the aide says that MOC has already issued a statement on the issue, ask where you can find it or get a copy. If the MOC has not yet taken a position on the issue, offer to provide additional information (if you have it), and ask when you can check back with the aide to get the MOC’s response on the issue.
If the person answering the phone says the aide is not available (this is more likely), ask for the aide’s name (which the person may or may not give you), and ask to leave a message on the aide’s voice mail.
- Leave a voice mail message including your name and phone number and the same points as listed above—your “ask,” the main reasons for your position, and why the issue is important to you or how it affect people in the MOC’s district/state—and ask that the aide call you back regarding the MOC’s position on the issue.
- If you don’t hear back from the aide within a day or two, call again or send an email to the aide (if you have his/her email address) following up on your previous message and asking for a call back.
Once you hear back from the aide regarding the MOC’s position, decide how you want to proceed.
- If the MOC’s position is favorable, send a letter or email to the MOC thanking him or her for taking that position.
- If the MOC’s position is unfavorable but you think further efforts at persuasion may be worth trying (e.g., the MOC’s voting record on similar matters is mixed), follow up with the MOC by letter, email, or an in-person contact, responding to the MOC’s position and providing reasons why the MOC should change his/her position—and get others to join the effort.
- If the MOC’s position is unfavorable and appears irreversible, thank the aide for getting back to you and say that you look forward to working with him or her on other issues in the future.
Return to the main Advocacy page to explore other tools available for advocacy.