SMS for Reps

$5,051 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 215 people in 22 months
Since the election in November, many people have been looking for ways to take action and voice their dissent. I hit upon an idea to help people make their voices heard. But now it’s getting popular and it's starting to get expensive. I need your help to keep it going.

I built a simple text message (SMS) hotline to help people call their elected officials. If you text a postal address to (520) 200-2223, it will text you back with the names and phone numbers of your state and federal legislators. Currently I’m rotating between 5 outbound numbers because the cell carriers were flagging the original number as spam for sending too many messages too quickly.

I’ve been running this on my own as a free public service since November, but the phone number has gone viral in the last few weeks and the bill is starting to add up. As of March 7, I've answered more than 386,000 SMS requests. While I don’t mind spending a bit of my own money to connect people to their government representatives, it’s starting to cost me more than $150 a day. I don't want to shut it off, but I can't underwrite this on my own.

The great news is people are super loving the service and making tons of calls. You can see some of the response I've received on Facebook and Twitter. In recent weeks, senate offices have been flooded with calls. It's clear there is demand and people are ready to take action. Raising $3,200 will help recoup my costs. Raising another $4,000 will help keep this running for another month while I try to find an organization to take over operation. (Serious inquires about taking over this service are welcome.)

If you are technically inclined, you can read more about how the bot works and find the source code here.

Thank you for your support!

[Updated on March 7, 2017 to reflect latest usage and expenses.]
+ Read More
Hi all,

First of all a huge thank you again for your contributions! The response to this project continues to amaze and humble us. Acacia and I have been able to recoup all of our texting expenses. This does not cover labor, but that's OK, it's been a labor of love.

And I'm happy to share with you that people are continuing to love the bot. Since I launched it in late November, the bot has texted more than 410,000 people with the names and numbers of their representatives. It is just incredible to know we reached so many people. The all time daily high was March 5, when more than 22,000 people texted the bot in a single day. Over the last week, the bot has averaged around 1,000 texts a day.

And best of all, people are actually making calls. How do I know? It was actually a glitch that gave me a fun window into people's follow through. The wife of a state senator emailed to update the phone number the bot was giving out. It turned out it was giving out the number for their home office rather than state capital office and they were getting lots of calls at home, she said. (I've since updated the bot to use a different service for state legislator numbers, so that's fixed.) Not the kind of confirmation I was expecting, but it's great to have real evidence that people are making calls.

What's next? We are still looking for an organization to take over the bot in the long run. If you know anyone who knows anyone, please put us in touch.

In the short term, however, I'm happy to announce that I've partnered with the folks at Burner, who make a mobile application for iPhone and Android. They are handling the outbound texting for the next 90 days.

In the wake of all the greed and cynicism pouring out of the White House and Capitol Hill, it's been a reassuring and heart warming counterpoint to experience people coming together to support each other and make sure that one way or another we will get our voices heard. Thank you again.

In the meantime, the news just keeps on coming. Please keep spreading the word about the SMS number!

In solidarity,

- John (and Acacia)

+ Read More
Meridith Turkel
21 months ago

We will send something in early April...thank you for providing this service!!!

+ Read More

$5,051 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 215 people in 22 months
Created February 9, 2017
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
20 months ago
shelley wenk
21 months ago

Thanks again, John!

Melissa Andrews
21 months ago

Thank you for taking the time to create this resource!

Meridith Turkel
21 months ago

We will send something in early April...thank you for providing this service!!!

+ Read More
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.