The answer depends on your representative or senator, but most of the time, this is what will happen:

You’ll be asked to give your name and address. You’ll be given the opportunity to tell the staffer what you’re calling about and why it’s important to you. Some people are nervous that they’ll be quizzed on their knowledge of an issue, be expected to quote lines from a bill or provide fresh data. That’s definitely not going to happen. Remember, your Members of Congress (MoCs) work for YOU, and it’s their job to listen.

Still nervous? Check out Cordelia McGee-Tubb’s immensely helpful guide, “How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxiety.”

Is it effective to call Members of Congress outside of my district/state? 

The short answer is no. Congress members’ first duty is to their constituents. Calling a Maine senator when you live in California will typically result in your call being ignored. Calling the congressperson from District 2 when you live in District 3 is also ineffective. Politicians care first and foremost about reelection. If you don’t vote in their state or district, your opinion really doesn’t affect them one way or another.

(adapted from