Advocacy Toolkit

As an advocate, you’re helping to spark positive change to protect our wildlife and wild places. This toolkit provides guidance on the many ways to share your message of support with friends, family, public officials, media outlets, and more.

Questions about the toolkit? Please contact us at

Your voice matters, and speaking directly to your Members of Congress and local representatives is impactful. When public officials receive phone calls from the constituents they represent, they know that their constituents have strong feelings about the issue and are taking notice of how they vote. When you call to make your voice heard, you will have a chance to talk to a staff member or leave a message, saying who you are and what action you would like your public official to take.

  • Choose an action and decide from that written message what you want to say to your public official.
  • Write down what you want to say ahead of time. Be concise. Usually you will say that you want your public official to support or oppose a specific policy, just like what is written in the action alert message.
  • Find your public official’s phone number:
    U.S. Senators
    U.S. Representatives
    U.S. President: 202-456-1414
    For state legislators or other public officials, you can find the phone number for their offices by visiting their website.
  • Member of Congress: You can always call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and be directed from there to the office of your Member of Congress, House or Senate.
    U.S. President: 202-456-1414
    For state legislators or other public officials, you can find the phone number for their offices by visiting their website.
  • Introduce yourself and give your address, making clear that you live in the area represented by the public official. If you have any special credentials, state them.
  • Say why you are calling. Keep it simple and only call about one issue at a time. Say exactly what issue or bill you want your member of Congress to support or oppose. You can also include one or two specific reasons why you think they should support or oppose a specific policy. A short and sweet personal connection and/or memorable anecdote will go a long way and make a lasting impact with your public officials and their staff.
  • Thank the staff aide for their time.

Your personal thoughts and experiences can make a profound impact on your public officials. A concise, well thought-out letter that showcases who you are and why you care about the issue at hand is one of the best tools for bringing about change. Here’s how to write an effective letter to your public official.

  • Plan your letter. Contact your public official while there is still time for your request to be considered. Letters sent by mail can take a month or longer to be processed before reaching your representative or senators on Capitol Hill, so plan accordingly. You can also send your letter within the body of an email (i.e. with no attachment).
  • Include your return address on the letter, as non-constituent mail may be thrown out.
  • Use your own words. Personalized letters, rather than those sent by form letter or email, show greater personal commitment on the part of the writer, and therefore carry greater weight.
  • Find out how your legislators voted on this issue in the past or what your public official’s current position is on the issue. You can usually locate this through their website and/or by searching their name on
  • Keep it simple. Your letter should address a single topic or issue. Typed, one-page letters structured like this are best:
    1. Say why you are writing and who you are. List your “credentials”. (Include your name and address.)
    2. Provide more detail. Provide specific information about how the topic affects you and others. A short and sweet personal connection and/or memorable anecdote will go a long way. If a certain bill is involved, cite the correct title or number whenever possible.
    3. Close by requesting the action you want taken, such as a vote for or against a bill, or change in general policy.
  • Be persistent. Write back and ask for more information if you do not receive a specific response.
  • Thank the public official for taking the time to read your letter.
Helpful Tips
  • Be clear about what you want, listing the bill number and the full name of the bill and any other pertinent ask.
  • Tell a memorable personal story on why this matters to you to make the issue real and make a lasting impact on the official and their staff.
  • Ask for a written response with their position.
Addressing Members of Congress

To Your Senator
The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

To Your Representative

The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

When writing to the Chairperson of a Committee or the Speaker of the House, address them as:
Dear Mr. Chairman
Dear Madam Chairwoman
Dear Mr. Speaker
Dear Madam Speaker

Identifying Legislation
Use these legislation identifiers to cite specific bills/resolutions when writing to members of Congress:
House Bills: “H.R._____”
House Resolutions: “H.RES._____”
House Joint Resolutions: “H.J.RES._____”
Senate Bills: “S._____”
Senate Resolutions: “S.RES._____”
Senate Joint Resolutions: “S.J.RES._____”

To look up any information regarding a piece of federal legislation, visit This can provide bill summaries, language, status, current bill sponsors and co-sponsors, and more.

Many elected officials and their staff as well as journalists who cover politics are paying close attention to public forums online. You follow your elected officials and local reporters that you like to see the issues that they are raising and how they are talking about those issues. Is conservation or wildlife protection being discussed? 

Elected Officials

By posting on Facebook, Twitter, or other platforms and tagging your elected official, you can ensure that someone on the staff of your elected leader is paying attention. To find the handle of your Member of Congress, you can visit their website. 


If you see a story you like posted from a local reporter that covers an issue you care about, then sharing it and tagging the reporter can be a great way of building a relationship with that journalist and encouraging them to write more about your issues.

Attending town halls, briefings, roundtables, and others, are great places to speak directly with public officials, meet others who share your passions and concerns, and show your support for conservation. 

A town hall is a public meeting where elected officials interact with local residents, discussing issues and listening to their concerns. It’s a direct way for officials to engage with constituents and a very effective way to make your voice heard. Town halls are usually held after big events like when bills pass, emergencies, news impacting the community, etc. or during a recess.

If you attend a town hall, there will likely be an opportunity for your elected officials to answer questions. Come prepared with what you want to ask. Sometimes staff members will ask you to submit your question in advance while other times you can just raise your hand. If your question is submitted, it will be screened by the staff member and they are more likely to answer questions that seem to keep coming up or be important to the community, so recruit several friends to attend and submit the same question to ensure it is raised.

If you are able to be called on, be respectful. Do not shout out your question or bring signs. Raise your hand respectfully and look as friendly as possible. No one wants to invite a confrontation, so you are more likely to be called upon if they believe it will be a positive and respectful exchange.

You may find these events directly on your public official’s website (particularly the press release, events, or media alert pages), their social media accounts, or by calling/emailing their office. 

If there are no town halls scheduled and you would like to hold one with your lawmaker, you can organize a virtual town hall.

Mobilize your community and friends to take action and have fun while doing it! You could show a film about an important issue and discuss ways to take action, write letters, or make phone calls to legislators as a group. By gathering people who share your passion and concerns, you can amplify your message, build a sense of community, and inspire action. 

Here are a few tips for organizing a successful event:

  • Choose a Theme: Decide on the focus of your event. It could be centered around a specific action, a current issue in the news, or an opportunity to educate about a particular issue or policy.
  • Event Type: You have various options, such as film screenings, letter-writing parties, making phone calls to legislators, or simply a gathering to share information and ideas.
  • Venue and Logistics: Choose a suitable location for your event. It could be a community center, library, park, your home or the home of a friend or volunteer, or even an online platform. Consider factors like accessibility, space, seating, and any technical requirements.
  • Date and Time: Select a date and time that are convenient for your community. Consider factors such as child-care, school schedules, and work hours. Promote the event well in advance to ensure maximum attendance.
  • Promotion: Utilize social media, local newspapers, community bulletin boards, and relevant online platforms to spread the word about your event. Create visually appealing posters and share them digitally or in print.
  • Engaging Activities: Plan interactive activities that encourage attendees to participate actively and for each person to feel comfortable, seen, and heard within the space. This could include guided discussions, ice-breakers, and brainstorming using sticky notes or bulletin boards. Get creative!
  • Call to Action: Make sure your event has a clear call to action. Whether it’s signing a petition, writing letters to public officials, or making phone calls. Provide attendees with tangible steps they can take to contribute.
  • Networking: Create opportunities for attendees to connect with one another. Networking can lead to the formation of local advocacy groups, ongoing initiatives, and collaborations.
  • Social Media: Encourage attendees to take photos and share their experience on social media using a specific hashtag related to your event. This can help spread your message even further.
  • Follow-Up: After the event, follow up with attendees. Thank them for their participation and provide resources or further actions they can take to stay engaged in the cause.

Remember, the key to hosting a successful event is creating an environment where everyone can share their thoughts and learn together and requires careful planning, dedication, and enthusiasm. It’s a chance to create a positive impact, raise awareness, and inspire meaningful change within your community and beyond.

If you’re interested in hosting an event, please email us at and we can provide you with more information.

As a voter, you have the power to help choose those legislators and legislators know the power you wield as a voter. From the presidential race to local elections, your vote can decide who is in or out.

Our Voting Toolkit provides you with everything you need to make sure you and your loved ones are prepared for election season and making your voices heard.

Share information and opportunities to protect wildlife and people! You can forward emails to your friends or post links to action alerts on social media.

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