Especially when legislation is moving quickly through Congress, placing a phone call to your member of Congress's office is the best way to influence your Member's vote. Before making a call, write out what you want to say.
- Request to speak with the legislative aide who handles the issue you are calling about. Know the issue and the bill number, if one is available.
- Be prepared so you can confidently tell your story and ask for the change you want.
- Identify yourself as a constituent and a member of your affiliated organization. Ask to leave a brief message for the member of Congress. (Example: "As a constituent, I would like the Senator/Representative to support MS research"). If you are not a constituent, be prepared to explain why you are calling and how the issue impacts you.
- Briefly provide reasons for your support or opposition.
- Ask where the member stands on the issue. You may also ask for a written reply or a return phone call from staff.
- Thank the staff member for his or her time.
Phone numbers can be found on the member's website, or the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 can direct your call.
Below is a sample call:
Staffer: Representative Smith’s office, how may I help you?
YOU: Hi, my name is [NAME] from [CITY] in the Representative’s district. I’m calling about [state the issue; for example, "the need to protect funding for multiple sclerosis research].
Staffer: Thank you for calling. What bill number are you referring to?
YOU: This is an appropriations issue. Please tell the Representative to protect funding for MS research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) and at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The CDMRP funds high-risk, high-reward research and the NIH is currently the leading source of funding for MS research. We must continue the momentum of understanding MS so that we can continue to develop more treatments and one day, end MS forever.
Staffer: I'll convey your message.
YOU: Please tell the Representative that I live with multiple sclerosis and this issue is important to me and other constituents. Thank him/her for supporting the MS community.
Staffer: I will. Thank you for calling.