Sway your member of Congress with a calling campaign
By Jamie Ptacek
Congress members have voiced time and time again the power of hearing directly from constituents. The more calls and emails a representative receives regarding a specific issue, the more likely they are to actually do something about it. So, how can we ensure that climate change is an issue being brought up to our congressional offices each and every day?
You could start a Monthly Calling Campaign!
Brett Cease, CCL’s Volunteer Engagement & Education Coordinator, recently led a training session on this topic. He was joined by Ham Richards and Ben Boral, two CCL members from Austin, TX, who lead the efforts to develop CCL’s new Monthly Calling Campaign tool. Dave Malitz, a CCL congressional co-liaison from Corvallis, OR, joined as well to share how effective the tool has been for their local chapter. Watch the full training here, or read on for a recap:
What is a Monthly Calling Campaign?
CCL’s Monthly Calling Campaign is a way to create a steady drumbeat of phone calls from constituents to their members of Congress about climate change and climate solutions. We’ve developed a tool that makes it easy for your fellow volunteers to generate phone calls to your representative’s office every day. The tool assigns volunteers to call on the same day every month, collects data on who has made calls, handles field reporting from each call, and gives the data to CCL chapter administrators so they can see the impact of the calling campaign in their district.
This idea was originally conceptualized and put into practice by volunteers like Alan Anderson in Minnesota. Cease said, “The Monthly Calling Campaign tool was inspired by and builds on the important work of CCL leaders in Minnesota and other chapters. We’re so grateful for their creativity and leadership, and we’re excited to help more volunteers follow in their footsteps.”
Let’s start calling
To sign up to be a caller, go to cclusa.org/mcc or share that link with others so they can participate too. Once you fill out the form, you will receive a welcome email and/or text message. You will be randomly assigned a call-in day—the tool will ensure that calls are evenly distributed over the entirety of the month.
When your day arrives, you will receive a notification to make your call. The notification will contain a link to your call-in guide. The guide itself will give you the phone number of the office you are calling and a script to follow with three sections: (1) identifying climate change as the issue you are calling about, (2) talking points that provide useful information relevant to climate change, and (3) the “ask” being made of the congress member, typically to cosponsor the Energy Innovation Act. After your call, click the “I Called” button to log your call in the CCL database for automated field reporting. You can watch Ben Boral walk through this process step-by-step in the video clip below:
Earth Day is right around the corner, and asking table visitors to sign up to be a monthly caller is an easy and empowering action that they can do right at your table. Anyone can be a caller whether they are a CCL supporter or not.
You could help run this show
In addition to callers, a Monthly Calling Campaign needs administrators to customize the scripts and keep in touch will callers for each district. These administrators are CCL leaders who are in communication with the liaison for their district to ensure that the call-in guide stays up to date with talking points and that the ask is relevant to the member of Congress who is being called, as well as conducting other less-frequent updates and maintenance tasks. As an administrator, you will have access to a special dashboard where you can edit the calling script, manage your database of callers, see reports of how many calls are being made, and more.
As an administrator, another important task is to recruit callers to your campaign. A good place to start recruiting callers is with members of your own chapter. They can sign up as callers and also act as recruiters to bring in even more callers. Another category of people to focus on are those who are sympathetic to the cause, but too busy for an open-ended commitment. If that is who you find yourself talking to, then joining the calling campaign may be the perfect fit for them. There are also custom Monthly Calling Campaign flyers to use with your outreach as a recruitment tool.
If you are interested in helping run a Monthly Calling Campaign, we recommend checking in with your group leader or district’s CCL liaison, and then applying to become an administrator here. For additional training, read more on the Monthly Calling Campaign page on Community.
Hear about it first hand
One chapter that has successfully put the Monthly Calling Campaign tool to use is in Oregon. Watch the clip below with Dave Malitz to hear how it went and what their group has learned:
Time to dive in
Feel ready to use this tool and build the political will we need to pass substantive climate legislation? Here are your next steps:
- Go to cclusa.org/mcc to sign up as a caller
- If you are interested in being an administrator and taking on the responsibility of recruiting callers and upgrading the script for your group, first coordinate with your liaison and then apply to sign up at admin.cclcalls.org/signup
- Join the CCL community group for Monthly Calling Campaign Admins at community.citizensclimate.org/groups/home/2332
- Go out and start recruiting callers to your campaign!
And don’t forget, CCL is here to support you. Staff members will help you get set up, provide feedback on your talking points, and answer any questions you have along the way.
Jamie Ptacek is a graduate from Bowdoin College, where she studied Environmental Studies and Earth and Oceanographic Science and was involved in climate related activism. She currently resides in her hometown in Lewisburg, PA, where she is spending as much time outside as she can, teaching yoga and meditation, and working on several different climate justice campaigns.