Move the Needle by Phone

Cell Phone Lobbying

When your legislator’s office needs information on an issue, nothing can replace a simple conversation. A personal phone call can not only help you get information directly to an elected official, but allows them to ask questions as well. Follow these guidelines to get the most out of your conversation.

Before the Call:

  • Prepare a few quick notes on what you will talk about.  Be sure you don’t throw too much at them – one or two issues should do it.
  • Glance over your elected official’s website. Here you can see what they have been up to, and get a sense of what has their attention.

During the Call:

  • Identify yourself as a credible constituent simply by saying your name, address, and that you are an attorney in the community.
  • Ask to speak to a member of the staff that handles legal issues. The legislative aid will relay your comments and concerns to the legislator.
  • Tell them what bill or issue you are calling about – Say the name and number of the bill if you have it.
  • Clearly and concisely state your position and what you would like the legislator to do (Here is where your notes come in!). Be sure to be specific, if you want the legislator to co-sponsor a bill, say exactly that.
  • Ask how they feel about the bill or issue. Try and make it a conversation instead of a one-way street. This will also help you gauge if further conversations are needed.
  • Remember, if they ask a question that you do not know the answer, the best thing to say is simply, “I will get back to you.” Giving wrong information can hurt your credibility, and saying this opens the door for future interactions!
  • Don’t forget to thank them for their time.

After the Call:

  • Send a quick follow up email thanking them again, and giving them any information you promised.
  • Tell someone at the ABA how the call went. Knowing what was discussed and how the office responded will help our lobbyist shape future interactions.

It is always a good idea to keep your phone calls quick and simple. Legislative staff have extremely busy days, so they will appreciate your understanding. 2-3 minutes is the goal. 

For more information, contact Eric Storey, the ABA’s Director of Grassroots and Digital Advocacy, (202) 662-1770.