Reach Your Elected Officials

Want to know something about the people elected to represent you? We thought you might. Find and contact federal, state and local officials—right from your chair! And it does matter: only 5 to 10 percent of voters ever contact legislators, which is why even small groups of advocates can make a difference.


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Check out our ABCs of Advocacy Toolkit to get started!

Watch the Introduction to Advocacy video!

Looking for Inspiration?

Our Success Stories section has stories of people who took action, made their voice heard and made a difference.

Tools for Reaching Officials

Now that you know how to reach your elected officials (see the tool on the right), what's the most effective way to make sure your message is heard, and follow up? These resources below are designed to help you do just that.

June 1, 2016
Get a jumpstart on connecting with your elected officials on the issues you care about.
March 17, 2016
  Curious how action alerts work? When to send them? What to put in the subject line? How to better target alerts?
October 31, 2015
To close out Youth Justice Awareness Month, the W. Haywood Burns Institute calls on Congress to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency...
February 23, 2015
An op-ed is a timely, provocative essay that expresses an opinion on an important issue. Letters to the editor (LTEs) generally respond to a previous...
June 30, 2014
Easy-to-use templates to write powerful Letters to the Editor. Make your case and use our interactive tool (below) to find local media contacts!
May 18, 2014
Communicating with Congress
Technology has made it fast and easy to contact Congress, but how well is it working? SparkAction and the National Conference on Citizenship jointly...
October 9, 2013
Don’t just get mad, take action to help urge a responsible end to the shutdown that’s affecting millions of families and children.
August 18, 2013
Act4 image
A look at a decade of federal cuts to juvenile justice funding, and the impact on state programs and the youth involved.
August 5, 2013
dignity in schools
As we wrestle how to ensure the safety of our schools, a wave of legislative proposals to increase law enforcement presence in schools could have...
July 31, 2013
Funding cuts in Senate appropriations to juvenile justice programs show that we have a long way to go to protect youth in adult jails through policy...
July 29, 2013
man with mic
Congressional recesses are a critical time for advocates to get up close and personal with lawmakers and to help present your issues in a new light...
May 15, 2013
Elected officials do pay attention to email from constituents. To prove it, the Congressional Management Foundation surveyed Members of Congress and...
May 6, 2013
What the "fiscal cliff" and compromises will mean for children, youth and families.
April 23, 2013
A child or teen dies or is injured from guns every 30 minutes. Gun violence saturates our children’s lives. More children and teens die from...
April 18, 2013
A millennial has had enough with hearing that one issue is "more important" than another for Congress to focus on.
March 21, 2013
The Presidential Youth Council, composed of young Americans ages 16 to 24, will advise the President on the perspectives of youth, offer suggestions...
January 17, 2013
A new video features unscripted voices and experiences of young Americans who know they have a stake in the next four years. Children and youth ages...
January 2, 2013
A quick box of tools and research to help you make your case powerfully and effectively.
August 24, 2012
Tips for spreading your ideas without getting the runaround.
August 8, 2012
To make the most of your August recess, RESULTS suggests two main actions. If possible, request a face-to-face visit with your senators and...
July 30, 2012
The Walt Disney Company recently announced that it will apply nutritional standards to foods and beverages advertised to children through its...
July 6, 2012
Lawmakers return home this summer as the debate about our country’s fiscal future heats up and the stakes rise approaching the November...
June 19, 2012
Act Now
As legislation moves in Congress, the “wonk” (or policy-speak) can make it almost impossible to understand exactly what’s at stake...
April 5, 2012
The recently-passed House Republican budget plan asks low-income and middle-class Americans to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while...
February 17, 2012
Every Child Matters summarizes the President's FY2013 budget.
February 9, 2012
Afterschool action
During presidential election cycles in particular, voters’ concerns are brought to the forefront ofthe public debate and discussed widely in...
February 1, 2012
Election 2012
This smooth Prezi video introduces our joint 2012 campaign with Voices for America's Children, the Children's Leadership Council, and the...
January 23, 2012
The National Association for Education details updates on the House ESEA reauthorization bills.
January 18, 2012
Join the National Council's 8th Annual Public Policy Institute and Hill Day on June 25-26, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C.
December 16, 2011
Capitol Words
Sunlight has introduced this way-cool online tool that shows you how much (or how little) Congress is talking about the issues you care about. ...
December 8, 2011
ABC News
ABC News and Yahoo! News will host a Republican presidential debate on Saturday, December 10, 2011 at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.  Have...
December 2, 2011
Make the First Five Count
The fact is: infants and toddlers in nearly every state continue to fall behind, many will never catch up. Yet, with the right investment in...
November 21, 2011
Really?! With Seth and Kermit
In the wake of Congress's block of new rules on school lunches, pizza has now been deemed a vegetable for school meals--thanks to the tomato...
November 17, 2011
Young Kids, Hard Time
Take a look into the unseen world of young children serving decades behind bars in America's adult prison system. On November 20th at 10...
November 14, 2011
Time is running short for the supercommittee to complete a budget outline for the federal budget. Committee members may be stymied by a partisan...
November 10, 2011
The White House
Who better to blaze innovative trails in communities than students with their fingers on the cultural, technological and social pulse? So Prez Obama...
November 9, 2011
Advocates--including Children's Leadership Council chairman Alan Houseman--fight for children in this op-ed. 
November 2, 2011
A Rhode Island Senator makes a plea for Pell Grants in a Huffington Post column.
November 1, 2011
Half in Ten
Half in Ten has officially started the clock on the goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years and has tons of resources to help you get involved.
October 25, 2011
Paul Simon, Children's Health Fund
In a new video, Paul Simon and Dr. Irwin Redlener, co-founders of the Children's Health Fund, along with other pediatricians urge the...
October 19, 2011
We are One
On October 19, Vice President Biden will join union members and other activists to rally on Capitol Hill in support of a bill that would create or...
October 12, 2011
Occupy Wall Street
  “We know who we are and we know what we want: we're a big, diverse movement that's fighting for an economy that works for all of...
October 11, 2011
Jenna Johnson, author of the Campus Overload column on The Washington Post
As the Occupy Wall Street movement grows, so do mentions of suffocating student loans - and who is to blame.  Jenna Johnson of The Washington...
October 11, 2011
Republican governors in Pennsylvania and Iowa are unveiling plans for major education changes, joining a number of their peers in states such as...
October 10, 2011
Families USA
Medicaid helps children get a healthy start in life, provides seniors and people with disabilities with long-term care, and helps those with serious...
October 9, 2011
Maine's state flag
Maine's upcoming "people's veto" to repeal a recent state law that ended 40 years of same-day registration is drawing attention...
October 7, 2011
social media
Eight of every 10 members of Congress are on Facebook and Twitter, but social media experts say lawmakers should be more interactive in using online...
October 7, 2011
  Sens. McCaskill (D-Mo.), Boozman (R-Ark.) and Reps. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Pelosi (D-Calif.) are using social media effectively, according to...
October 3, 2011
Feeding America
Feeding America reports an advocacy success! The Senate Appropriations Committee FY2012 agriculture appropriations protects anti-hunger programs like...
October 3, 2011
One of these things is not like the others: Mongolia, Chad, Mali, Cuba and the United States. if you guessed the United States, you’re right...
September 27, 2011
There's a lot moving in federal education policy. First Focus' VP for Education Policy looks at what's happening and what needs to happen...
September 27, 2011
The recently approved debt ceiling compromise included the formation of a new “Super Committee,” with unprecedented power to recommend...
September 23, 2011
We have two urgent messages for members of that committee: First, Medicaid must not be cut. Second, at least half of their plan’s deficit...
September 22, 2011
We the People provides everyone with a new way to petition the federal government to take action on a range of issues online....
September 19, 2011
Voices for America's Children offers a succinct view of the federal budget and what you can ask your elected officials.
September 12, 2011
Last week, the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc. and the League of Young Voters Education Fund issued a joint letter urging the Attorney...
September 7, 2011
We are currently living through an unprecedented era of high unemployment and growing poverty.  Now more than ever it is important to ensure...
August 31, 2011
As the Super Committee gets to work, Half in Ten has created 12 fact sheets--one for each committee member--that layout expections of what each...
August 30, 2011
Join Generations United, Children's Defense Fund, and other organizazations on September 15th at 1:00 p.m. at the U. S.
August 23, 2011
The children's advocacy collaborative the Children's Leadership Council and their allies submitted this letter to Congress in April encouraging them...
August 3, 2011
While most Americans—and many citizens around the world—are breathing a sigh of relief that the debt-ceiling ‘crisis’ is over...
July 27, 2011
Voices for America’s Children has developed something new for social media users to help apply pressure to Congress at this key time. Their new...
July 26, 2011
Were you or someone you know saved by a Pell grant?  With the Federal Pell Grant program in danger, EdTrust, Young Invincibles, and U.S. PIRG...
July 21, 2011
Legislative attacks on young voters and new registrations have been appearing all over the map.  Rock the Vote has created a page to...
July 12, 2011
Young Invinvibles
As pressure mounts to cut spending from programs for low-income Americans, Young Invincibles' Meghan Cheney argues that Federal Pell Grants are not a...
July 5, 2011
nFocus Software, partnered with Metro United Way, Jefferson County Public Schools and the City of Louisville, is hosting its 2nd annual Communities...
June 28, 2011
Cartoon from Common Dreams
Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, argues that there is a better way to cut the deficit than drastically reducing...
June 23, 2011
Responding to requests for comments, a group of researchers and educators recommends to federal policymakers how PreK-3rd alignment can be built into...
June 17, 2011
President Obama
The Obama administration has pledged to participate in 100 Youth Roundtables all across the country this spring.
June 17, 2011
Oscar Winner Melissa Leo
Oscar winner Melissa Leo is featured in a new video advocating the restoration of $7.3 million to New York City's homeless and runaway youth services...
June 13, 2011
This guide will provide you with tips and tools to make policy makers hear your voice on these critical budget issues facing our nation with straight...
June 10, 2011
Rock the Vote's analysis of the 50 states’ voting systems reveals that young Americans are being left out of the democratic process because...
May 27, 2011
Thomas Bates is Rock the Vote's Vice President of Civic Engagement.
Thomas Bates, VP of Civic Engagement at Rock the Vote, clarifies and responds to Wisconsin's adoption of the strictest voter ID law in the country.
May 19, 2011
The Save Our Schools March will take place in Washington, DC on July 30th, 2011--supporters of public schools, from teachers to celebrities, will...
May 16, 2011
A new video from SparkAction of the Briefcase Brigades, featuring footage of Brigades from coast to coast!
May 16, 2011
Students at the University of California, Santa Cruz took place in a national day of action called the Briefcase Brigades in April to start a...
May 16, 2011
SparkAction's Alison Waldman, who took part in the April 27th Briefcase Brigades on Capitol Hill, gives an overview on why some young Americans...
April 25, 2011
The Clean Air Act has saved millions of lives and protected rivers, lakes and forests from untold damage. Now, this bedrock law is under assault in...
April 22, 2011
Rich Williams, US PIRG
Rich Williams of US PIRG highlights the devastating impact of Chairman Ryan's budget, with it's crippling cuts to Pell Grants, on students...
April 18, 2011
Thousands of the Millenial Generation--those born between 1980 and 2000--are asking, WTF?  Where's the Funding?  Entering college and/...
April 18, 2011
author photo
SparkAction intern Alison blogs on the millenial generation facing the job market, and what we're doing about it.
April 18, 2011
On April 27th, young people in suits will march on Congressional offices. The hope is to dramatize the youth job crisis and the need for Congress to...
April 6, 2011
The Children's Leadership Council wrote a letter to Hon. John Spratt and Hon. Paul Ryan regarding the budget proposal for FY2011 regarding programs...
April 4, 2011
Head Start has proven results. Angelica Salazar started out as a Head Start student and went on to become a Harvard student. Check out her story in...
March 29, 2011
House Republicans have released their budget proposal for fiscal year 2012. It makes deep cuts in programs supporting vulnerable families and...
March 28, 2011
The current Continuing Resolution (CR) runs out April 8. Now’s the time a lot of emails to the Senate could help tilt the scales for families...
March 28, 2011
Feeding America offers a first-ever county-by-county picture of 50 million hungry Americans. The report comes with a handy way to inform your...
March 28, 2011
Based on the Harlem Children’s Zone model, Promise Neighborhoods has been hailed by local and national leaders as a critical, innovative new...
March 24, 2011
Yesterday, March 23rd, students across the country participated in the first ever Democracy Day.
March 21, 2011
Mayors are trying to save community development block grants that serve urban areas and create city jobs. Find out what you can do to help save these...
March 21, 2011
Asthma, mercury poisoning, air pollution. The Sierra Club says the Obama Administration should take a stronger stand against pollution and Congress...
March 21, 2011
The Campaign for Youth is calling for a Day of Action on March 24.
March 14, 2011
Members of the Leage of Young voters hit the streets of Madison to find out why more African Americans were not participating in the Wisconsin union...
March 8, 2011
Rising childhood asthma rates alone demand that we adults protect regulations that have improved air quality. The Sierra Club opposes new proposals...
February 15, 2011
For those willing to take the time, learning to lobby like a pro can help ordinary citizens play a more influential role in shaping the laws that...
February 9, 2011
Washington state’s Governor Gregoire is proposing complete elimination of the states basic health program and the removal of 26,000...
February 9, 2011
Voting for top questions to US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is now closed. To continue taking action, please visit the SparkAction Action...
February 8, 2011
Check out the ECS' summaries of the governors' 2011 State of the State addresses of education-related issues.  This year's addresses were chaulk...
January 1, 2011
A quick guide for writing effective letters and emails to elected officials.
November 22, 2010
Nearly 8 million workers and their families have been kept afloat by the extension of the federal unemployment insurance program while they search...
November 9, 2010
Time is running out, and hungry kids need a child nutrition bill.  Tell Congress to pass S. 3307 and fix the SNAP cut through another vehicle....
November 8, 2010
Congress will be dealing with the expiring tax cuts after the November election. We cannot let them ignore working families when they do. As part of...
November 2, 2010
The Hunger Action Center is leading a citizen letter-writing campaign urging the House and Senate to reauthorize the child nutrition bill with...
November 1, 2010
Take Action now by telling the EPA and White House to save lives by setting a stronger smog standard now. We need to weigh in and tell the...
September 21, 2010
United States Student Association (USSA) President Lindsay McCluskey issued an official statement regarding the Senate’s action on the...
September 20, 2010
The Dream Act will be up for vote in the US senate this week, please join thousands of DREAM activists across the country in the "Week of our DREAMs...
September 3, 2010
The prevention fund authorized by the health care reform bill is in serious jeopardy. When the U.S. Senate returns in September, one of the first...
September 2, 2010
UPDATE: Senate unable to extend the TANF emergency fund from the Recovery Act that funded 200,000 or so jobs.
September 1, 2010
The massive egg recall shows how many cracks are in our food safety system. Unless consumers speak out and demand better inspections, testing and...
May 25, 2010
Think factory farms and genetically modified seed monopolies are driving out family farmers and undermining the availability of nutritious foods?...
May 19, 2010
Do you ever come across unfamiliar terms and acronyms in your advocacy work? Whether you are a lifelong advocate or a new big voice for little kids...
May 19, 2010
Minnesota’s Cross-Cultural Leadership Action Program brings cultural communities together to develop the capacity to promote school readiness...
February 18, 2010
Please contact your representatives and urge them to act now to avoid cuts in vital services to children, youth and families by extending the FMAP...
February 12, 2010
Democracy is a conversation. That's the spirit behind this site, which offers forums, blogs, polls, petitions, action alerts and more to help you get...
January 12, 2010
Elected officials are often challenged by a lack of permanent staff, limited financial resources for technology and a sometimes unending barrage of...
October 20, 2009
Letters and emails are an extremely effective way of communicating with your elected officials. Many legislators believe that a letter represents not...
September 15, 2008
The National Collaboration for Youth (NCY), a 40 year old coalition of youth-serving nonprofits, has proposed a national policy agenda, "Toward a...
October 1, 2000
The 2000 election is past but these resources are still relevant. Check out this summary of initiatives to educate youth and young adults about...
DIY Democracy
Have you ever seen something in your community or heard something on the news you wanted to do something about?  Well, you can! Here's a...
David D. Burstein
Generation 18 Founder and Executive Director David D. Burstein argues that Millennials' propensity for collaboration can and will change the...
Every day, people in communities across America are now seeing that sequestration is real—and the stakes are especially high for struggling...
What's the best way to use your time online to take action?

The Latest Action Alerts

Find opportunities to take action and influence public policy with these alerts from child and youth organizations across the field.
Mon, 2016-11-14
Sponsored by:
Act 4 Juvenile Justice
one thing

Urge leadership to pass the bipartisan JJDPA bill for fairer youth justice. Let's get this done.

Sponsored by:

On May 18, the House Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee is expected to decide spending levels for federal juvenile justice funds for state programs. These programs keep families and communities safer, help young people get themselves back on track, and save money in the long run. We must fund them fully so they can be effective.

Mon, 2015-07-13
Sponsored by:
Coalition for Community Schools
coalition for community schools

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is offering an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 to establish a full-service community schools program that would award five-year grants to districts and community partners to implement community schools. This is a great opportunity to reach many more young people, schools and communities with the community school strategy.

Fri, 2015-04-24
Sponsored by:
Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council
presidential youth council

Thursday, April 23rd is the most important day in the history of the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council. 16 Democrats and 12 Republicans came together to introduce a Congressional resolution calling for the creation of a Presidential Youth Council.  Bipartisan coalitions of this size are unusual in Washington.

Wed, 2015-04-22
Sponsored by:
Act 4 Juvenile Justice

Enacted in 1974, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) provides direction and support for state juv

Thu, 2015-04-16
Sponsored by:
New Hampshire Kids Count

Each year, hundreds of NH children are found to have elevated lead levels in their blood. Because even small amounts of lead can cause children to suffer permanent adverse health effects, it is essential that lead poisonings be prevented.

SB135 aims to: