So you've filled out the latest Planetary Society petition and sent it to your Congressional representatives. Now you’ve received an email from us asking you to call them, and you find yourself thinking how does this work? do I have to argue with someone? how long will this take? does it make a difference?
We're here to tell you that yes, calling can make a difference.
Making a personal phone call is a crucial component of communicating with Congress. People in your district call your Representatives every day, you should be one of them.
A phone call, when done correctly, can have a strong impact on the staffers who do a lot of the work in the office, and your opinions do get recorded and tallied down.
How To Be Effective When You Speak to Your Representative
First, do no harm. When you call Congress you are a representative of The Planetary Society and of the movement to properly fund NASA’s Planetary Science division. It is crucial to be polite, positive, and clear in your message.
Ninety-eight percent of the time you will be speak to a staff person in your representative’s office. This is fine. Most of the work in a congressional office is done by dedicated, capable staffers, and they work hard to take into account your opinions when making law.
Here are some tips for when you call your Representative, this will take less than five minutes of your time. You may want to read through our Become An Expert section before you call.
- Be polite!
- State that you are a constituent and a registered voter (you are registered to vote, right?)
- Ask to speak to a the staff member who is responsible for NASA or space policy
- Be concise and clear about why you’re calling (e.g. “I’m calling about the proposed cuts to NASA’s Planetary Science program in the President’s 2013 budget”)
- State why the matter is important to you and why you think it deserves their support
- Clearly state your desired outcome by the Representative (“I encourage the Representative to work to restore funds to this effective program”)
- Mention that you’re following up on a previous message that you sent on this issue
- Thank the staffer for their time
Log in below to see find your representative’s contact information:
Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!
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