Our clean energy intern Katie Moffitt writes how to call your representatives to advocate for clean energy commitments in your community.
Lately, I’ve found myself craving connection in any form I can find. I chat up strangers in line at the grocery store (socially distanced, of course), and I linger on work calls too long. In an uncharacteristic turn of events, I have even turned to doing the one thing I dread the most -- talking on the phone. My outgoing, yet socially anxious, self can navigate most interpersonal scenarios with ease, but phone calls make me break out in a cold sweat.
And yet, I have been figuratively swirling the phone cord around my finger these past few weeks, giddy at the opportunity to chat. I credit this to my daily dose of activism. My arsenal of small acts of resistance that have expanded over the last few weeks to include a new favorite: calling my representatives.
The first step in fighting for our future is joining our One Million for 100% community, signing our petition and familiarizing yourself with the 100% Renewable campaign. Once you’ve done that, next up is digging in with your new community. In the second installment in our One Million for 100% blog series, we explore how to do this by picking up the phone. Here’s a phone banking toolkit for tips on how to get started in amplifying your voice.
Why phone banking?
During times like these when democracy and the causes you believe in feel imperiled, it is more important than ever to use your voice to remind your representatives who they serve. By contacting your elected officials, you hold them accountable.
In the midst of COVID-19, when seeing our leaders in person isn’t an option, calling is the most effective method of getting their attention. At both the state and federal levels, officials receive daily reports of both the most frequently mentioned topics and the distribution of callers by zip code.
Phone banking tips and best practices
Before you get started, gather a list of the phone numbers of your elected leaders. At the federal level, your representative’s and senators’ office information is readily available.
Keep tabs on legislative efforts that relate to energy. This means knowing what’s going on with not only the pursuit of a 100 percent renewable energy commitment but also the retrenchment of fossil fuel dependence. Phone banking can make a big impact when there is relevant legislation up for debate or a vote -- so make sure you know when that’s happening!.
Try to avoid leaving a message. Instead keep calling until you connect with someone in the office. Speaking to a staff member ensures that your message will be recorded and included in daily reports.
Provide your zip code, especially if your area has previously supported this candidate.
Be clear about your ask when communicating your message. I often practice the call script or my own personal message with a friend until I have memorized the main points and can repeat it with clarity.
Make sure to add your own personal touch to our call script. Explain who you are and why this issue is important to you. When I call my representatives, I make it a point to mention that I’ve voted for them in the past and expect them to carry out their campaign promises.
Host a virtual neighborhood phone bank
Want to do more? Share this toolkit with neighbors, friends or family and host a virtual One Million for 100% phone bank. For those who aren’t familiar, a phone bank is a grassroots strategy that involves coordinated phone calls to voters, campaign supporters, or, in our case, elected officials in order to achieve a certain objective, such as gaining support for statewide 100 percent renewable energy commitments.
The more calls your representatives receive, the more they will be swayed and the closer we get to reaching our goal of a renewable future for all. Check back in a few weeks for our final installment of small acts of resistance that you can take as part of our One Million for 100% community.
You can find our One Million for 100% Renewable Energy phone banking call script here.