Enthusiastic activists will sometimes suggest that everyone should call high-profile members of Congress to support or oppose legislation, without regard to where you (the caller) live.

We know that actions by Representatives that are not your own can make you angry, but calling offices of Representatives who do not represent you is often counterproductive and we will never direct you to call a member of Congress that is not your own on 5 Calls.

Here's why calling a different Congressperson is (usually) a bad idea:

Your member of Congress represents the people in their district. When they run for re-election, the only people who get to vote for or against them as a candidate are those very same people in their home district.

This means they are only interested in hearing feedback from their own constituents. This is why we always begin a call script with you telling the office about where you're from. While staffers who pick up the phone will always nicely listen to what you have to say, they will not tally opinions from callers who are not constituents so calling them makes no difference on their votes.

Calling leadership or Members of Congress outside your district certainly feels good, but non-constituent calls can instead fuel an agenda you don't support--for example, the leadership in question might report that they are being targeted by a small group of activists from outside their district and that no one in their actual constituency shares the opinion of those activists. 

This can be harmful to actual constituents too: when many people call from outside that Representative's district, they end up clogging the phone lines and real constituents may be unable to reach their member of Congress. These real constituents will hear busy signals or disconnects because the Congressional office does not have the staff in place to field so many calls.

In some cases it can be valuable to call the office of a specific Committee, in which case you'll be talking to the staff of a Congressperson who chairs that committee. However, this is a different phone number than the regular number for that member of Congress, and we specifically note that it is a committee phone number rather than the office number for a Congressperson.

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