RESISTBOT: How-to Advocate by Text-Message

  Screenshot of RESISTBOT text message screen

Screenshot of RESISTBOT text message screen

Advocacy is an ongoing battle. Efforts have only increased following the Trump administration’s election to the most recent advocacy engagement around the decision to end DACA. This year, arts advocates took similar actions to save the NEA and succeeded. This triumph was accomplished by simply contacting elected officials, but not everyone is comfortable with this simple action.

Advocacy takes persistence and technology has facilitated these efforts. Constituents can email, direct tweet, and message their representatives, but one communication technology has resurfaced from the past: faxing. Personal visits and phone calls are the most direct ways to contact elected officials, but faxes are better than form email, according to Sara Dohl, former communications director of Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). Faxes are akin to letters, where constituents can reach out to elected officials directly.  Technology services like Resistbot have digitally transformed faxing so that Congress is only a text-message away. 

  Screenshot of RESISTBOT home screen

Screenshot of RESISTBOT home screen

Resistbot is a free automated robot that assists constituents with contacting their elected officials via text-message. Follow the simple steps below, and Resistbot will fax elected officials with a personal message.

Text RESIST to 50409. Text from a mobile device or using Facebook Messenger. Resistbot replies with starter questions like the user’s name and zip code. The zip code will be matched to the designated elected officials.

Craft and Deliver your Message. When Resistbot matches the user to the designated officials, its time to craft a message. Resistbot asks for a home address, email address, and phone number so users can be contacted by their elected officials. Before delivery, Resistbot sends a preview, and then sends the fax once the user texts CONFIRM. Users also receive a delivery confirmation to assure their message has reached the official’s office.

Unlock Commands. While Resistbot has made it effortless to connect with Congress, it also has transformed the effort into an engaging experience. The first time use delivers the same message to both senators. As users engage more, Resistbot provides options like contacting local representatives, individual senators, and state governors. It also unlocks different levels, like the TOWNHALL command where users can check if their elected officials are scheduled for townhall meetings. Resistbot also collaborates with HelloSign so users can give a personal touch by digitally hand-signing their message.

  Screenshot of RESISTBOT home screen

Screenshot of RESISTBOT home screen

Resistbot is an effective advocacy tool because many users receive correspondence from their officials. It is a free service, but Resistbot also receives donations so it can continue to fund the efforts.

Advocacy has never been such a fast, fun, and facile effort. The next time you advocate for the NEA or another important cause, text RESIST to 50409. Resistbot is one of many technology services available that makes advocacy so simple. If you’ve used Resistbot or another service to contact your elected officials, please share your experience in the comments below.