Send A Tea Bag
WARNING: Do not send a real tea bag to anyone. Doing so is open to abuse and misinterpretation. The Department of Homeland Security, the USPS, and various other federal agencies will undoubtedly object to your elected officials receiving unidentified substances in the mail.
Instructions For Sending a Virtual Tea Bag1. Find the contact information for your elected officials.
2. Determine how you want to contact them (personal visit, fax or email).
3. Use one of our prewritten letters or write your own using our tea bag image.
4. Deliver your letter by personal visit, fax, or email.
5. Follow up your letter with a phone call to the official's D.C. office.
What are the best ways to get your message to your elected officials?
Best: A Personal Visit
A personal visit is the unquestionably the most powerful way to deliver your message, and you can probably do it right in your own area.
Members of Congress maintain local district offices and state offices. Your visit to the local office is the best way of contact other than an actual trip to Washington.
You can find the local district or state office addresses in your phone book or on the web. See the 'Find Your Elected Officials' section to find the address and phone number of your local district or state offices.
Better: Send a Fax
Sending a fax is effective because it allows you to send handwritten letters or printed letters with a real signature.
If you do not have access to a fax machine, almost every town has some kind of public fax service at a store or local business. You can probably find one at your local copy center (example: Kinko's), public library, or pack-and-ship service store (example: The UPS Store). Average charges are $1 per page plus the cost of the fax call. You should be able to send a virtual tea bag for about $2 to $3 in total.
See the 'Find Your Elected Officials' section to find the fax numbers for your elected officials.
Good: Send an Email
Sending an email is easy because it allows you to send a message quickly from any computer that has an internet connection. It can be less effective than a fax however, since an email does not allow you to easily include a handwritten personalization of signature. Emails also can have less impact because they often tend to look like form letters.
If chose to send an email, personalize it to increase the impact. You can use our letter templates to get started. You can find helpful 'Do's and Don'ts' for writing an effective letter in the 'Guidelines for Letters' section.
See the 'Find Your Elected Officials' section to find the email addresses of your elected officials.
Fair: Using a 'Contact Us' Form On An Elected Official's Web Page
Using the 'Contact Us' link on your elected official's web page is not as effective as the methods mentioned above. Here's why; these forms tend to force you to categorize your email into a preselected category which may not fit with your subject. They also usual do not allow you to attach images, including a virtual tea bag, to the message. And finally they can limit your comments to one or two paragraphs.
As a result, these 'Contact Us' forms are not as effective for the Tea Bag Congress idea.
Why not send postal mail anymore?It can take up to THREE MONTHS for postal mail to get to elected officials due to post 9/11 security procedures. All incoming mail and parcels are subjected to thorough analysis for bombs, poisons, and biological agents like anthrax.
As a result, postal mail is practically useless for getting your message to your elected officials in any timely way.
Why not make a phone call instead of sending a fax or email?Contacting your elected officials by phone is quick and easy. But a key part of the Tea Bag Congress initiative is to send a virtual tea bag in order to show that you consider their recent behavior to be worthy of a Boston Tea Party level of response.
We want them to known that their behavior is so bad that it's time to take action to stop the abuse.
So if you want to make a phone call, by all means do so. But please follow your phone call with a fax or email to back it up and increase the impact.