How to Contact Members of Congress

Members of Congress are responsible for passing laws that protect and support DV survivors. If you want to advocate for survivors, it’s important to know how you can find and contact Members of Congress, as well as what to say to them.

Find Your Legislators

Once you know who your Representative or Senator is, it’s important to educate yourself on the bill you are advocating for or against. To do that, you should:

  1. Know the specifics – what bill are you supporting? What does the bill say?
  2. Have some statistics to present. Make sure the person you are talking to knows you have done your homework!
  3. Much of this information will be available in action alerts. If you need more information on one of these topics, check out our policy actions here.
  4. How does the proposed bill impact you, people you know, and/or the legislator’s constituents?

How Do I Contact Members of Congress?

You have many options! You can contact them by:

  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Snail mail (currently, incoming mail is undergoing extensive scrutiny, so it might take up to six weeks to reach your legislator) or fax
  • Set up an in-person meeting with your legislators and/or their staff

When you have used the above links to identify your legislators, click on the name of the person you want to contact. It will take you to their websites, which should have contact information. Addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers are usually at the bottom of the page. There will also be a ‘contact us’ tab, which will allow you to e-mail your legislators.

What Do I Say In a Letter or E-mail?

  1. Introduce yourself. The reader should know your name, where you’re from and, if you are calling on behalf of a particular organization, the name of the organization.
  1. Tell your legislator what you want – be specific! Include the bill number, bill name (if applicable), a one or two-sentence summary, and a few statistics for good measure, and discuss why the bill or action alert is important to you.
  1. Make it personal! Do you have any stories about the issue at hand, or do you know people who do? Share those stories!
  2. Be brief! Share a story but be sure to be concise. The reader will have limited time.
  3. Thank your legislator for their time.
  4. If you are writing a traditional (not e-mail) letter, send or fax it to the DC office.

How Do I Call An Office?

  1. Call the DC office, give the office administrator your name, and ask to speak to the aid in charge of your issue, in this case, domestic violence.
  2. Provide the staffer with the information you would include in a letter:
    1. Introduce yourself, tell the staffer where you are from, and, if you are calling on behalf of an organization, identify that organization.
    2. Tell the staffer what you want – be specific! Give them the bill number, a very brief summary, a few statistics if desired, and tell them why the bill is important to you. Make it personal. How has the issue under consideration impacted you, people you know, or the legislator’s constituents?
    3. Visit for help in planning your meeting!
    4. If the staffer asks you a question you cannot answer, do not panic! Tell them you will get back to them with that information.
    5. Bring a fact sheet or other material to leave with the staffer.
    6. Be brief. These folks are as busy as you are!
    7. If the staffer is not available, leave a message . . . and call back the next day, just for good measure! They might be busy when you call, so suggest setting up a phone meeting at a mutually convenient time.

How Do I Set Up An In-person Meeting with Members of Congress?

With a Staff Member

Members of Congress have several offices, both in DC and in your state.

  1. Staff in the state offices are more constituent-oriented; staff in DC are more focused on the legislator’s legislative agenda.
  2. Staff people in both offices are good points of contact. Staff in state offices are more likely to have time to meet with you and are, as mentioned above, more constituent-oriented (plus, you do not have to travel!), but the DC staffer is the person managing the legislator’s legislative portfolio.
  3. Call either the most convenient state office or the DC office, introduce yourself, and ask to schedule a visit. Be sure to specify that you are calling about domestic violence policy, so the office administrator will put you in contact with the appropriate legislative aide if applicable!
  4. Bring others with you to the meeting if possible. You need to show the staffer that this issue is important to many people, not just you.
  5. See above under “How do I Call an Office” as a guide for your meeting.
  6. Visit for help in planning your meeting!
  7. Bring fact sheets and other written materials to leave with the staff member.
  8. Thank the staff members for their time!
  9. Send a follow-up letter or e-mail to thank them for their time a second time and ask if you can be of any assistance.
With a Legislator
  1. Call the DC office and ask how to schedule an in-state issue visit. The office administrator should be able to guide you through the process.
  2. Do not meet with your legislator alone. You want the congressperson to know that many of their constituents feel the same as you do! Bringing friends and colleagues with you illustrates this point.
  3. See “How do I Call an Office” as a guide for your meeting.
  4. Know what you are going to say before you go in there!
  5. Visit for help in planning your meeting!
  6. Bring written materials to leave with the legislator.
  7. Send a follow-up letter or e-mail to thank them for their time and ask if you can be of any assistance.
  8. Always be respectful, but don’t be nervous – remember, your legislators work for you!

Get Involved.

There are other ways you can contact your members of Congress or tell them how you feel about a specific policy. Letters to the Editor are a great way to share your thoughts, as well as creating a larger discussion in your town or city about the issue. You can also attend campaign events such as town halls or fundraisers. This can give you an opportunity to ask your legislators in a public forum whether they support specific legislation and why or why not. Make sure you think about your question beforehand! It’s also important to make a note of their answer, so you can hold them accountable for that response if you feel they are not following through with the appropriate action. Now that you know how to contact Members of Congress, sign up for our action alerts here.