Our Quick & Easy Guide to Advocacy for Individuals
Current events have been pushing more and more people toward political action and advocacy — even people who haven’t been involved before.
We recently posted a guide to advocacy for organizers, where we recommended some great, low- and no-cost tools for political organizing. (You can check that post out here!) But, since so many people are motivated now more than ever to get involved, we decided to encourage personal activism and create a second post full of resources for regular people to get involved.
So, if that’s you, read on! Here’s our quick and easy guide on how to get involved in your community:
How can I get involved?
If you want to engage with your representatives and your community on an issue, but don’t know where to start, good news: there are a ton of different ways to get involved. Here are some of our favorite quick, easy, and free tools:
Contact your representatives!
- Resistbot. Most members of Congress still have fax machines. Why not fill their fax machines with personal stories, where you stand on an issue, and reasons why they should vote a certain way? Resistbot allows you to easily send a fax with a text message.
- ContactingCongress.org. This is a great tool for learning about your members of Congress, finding their addresses for an office visit, and finding the various numbers to call to make your voice heard.
- Town Hall Project. One of the most effective ways to make an impact is asking members of Congress tough questions face to face. With this tool, you can find town halls and add town halls to your mix, so others know when and where to join.
- Capitol Switchboard. And above all, don’t let complexity get in the way of starting. If your issue is federal, simply encourage folks to call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Reach out through social media.
- Twitter Government Lists. Twitter’s government account has compiled lists of U.S. Senators, members of Congress, and governors to make contacting your elected officials on the platform easy.
- Facebook Town Hall. Facebook’s new Town Hall app allows users to contact with their elected officials via phone, email, or even messenger, all without leaving the app. We’ve created this video to demonstrate how to find and use the tool:
What should I say?
When contacting your representatives, you just need to explain three main points:
- Who are you?
- Where do you live? (Tell them your ZIP code.)
- What is your reason for calling? (What issue are you passionate about? What bill is on the floor right now?)
That’s it! But we know that calling your representatives can still be intimidating, and having a script can make it a lot easier, especially if you’ve never done it before. If that’s true for you, we recommend checking out Indivisible. The group was formed by former congressional staffers with the goal of teaching activists how to be the most effective when contacting their local officials. Since then, they’ve created scripts for talking about hot-button issues, an online congressional calendar, and even guides for starting your own Indivisible activist chapter in your community.
Let us know if this was helpful — and if you have other favorite tools to get involved, leave us a note in the comments! For now, it’s time to get out there and get involved!
Invite Change Media Group to your inbox! You’ll get our start-up series of emails, then one email a month of must-know info. No spam ever, unsubscribe any time.
As CMG’s Crafter of Strategic Communication, Amy Libka combines strategy and creativity to help clients communicate as effectively as possible. She enjoys crafting messages that help clients achieve their goals through language and digital strategy. Amy is passionate about clear, effective communication, and enjoys crafting messages that help individuals and groups achieve their goals.