What happens after you click submit? (Hold the middle man accountable.)
If you've been taking part in calls to action by the advocacy organizations you are a member of, you would be wise to ask what happens to your letter to Congress after you click submit. Â It's an unfortunate truth that advocacy organizations are often thinking as much or more about building their membership lists than delivering your message to Congress in an effective way, and as a result organizations don't offer any accountability for your messages to Congress that you put in their trust. We're designing POPVOX to be both reliable and accountable so you know whether the effort you've put in to writing a message has been effective.
The trouble with electronic submission is that it is unreliable, and some of us in our industry are suspicious that many messages constituents are writing are not making it into Congress at all. We use the web forms that Members of Congress have set up to send in messages electronically. Some web forms, like Senator Klobuchar's , do accept the automated submission of constituent mail from POPVOX and other services that advocacy organizations pay to get constituent mail in. Other web forms, like Congressman Walter Jones's , prevent automated submission of constituent mail (often using a CAPTCHA ). In part, they do this to stop getting spam. But they also stifle advocacy.
There is no Congress Inbox. There are 541 Members of Congress and each does something peculiar with their electronic inbox.
On POPVOX we provide the first affirmative notice that your message has either been delivered or if we're still working on it. The notice appears on your Home page after you've submitted a comment. Here's an example from one user's account:
We are honest when we haven't gotten a message in yet. In the two cases here, the problem is that while Congressman Coffman has a web form that accepts messages delivered by us, it is rejecting this constituent's messages because it doesn't recognize his or her zip code as being within Colorado's 6th district. (If the constituent went to Coffman's website to submit the message, he or she would face the same problem.) Since we will not lie about the constituent's address in an attempt to bypass the Congressman's zip code check, we will be reaching out to Coffman's office personally in order to get these messages in.
The next time you participate in a call to action, ask yourself if you really believe your messages are being delivered to Congress. If not, come to POPVOX, or ask the advocacy organization to use POPVOX for their message delivery.