Before launching your petition online, check out our “Three steps to a great campaign” guide: https://campaignbootcamp.org/resources/grow-your-campaign/
Online Petition Tools
Online petition tools are the easiest and most effective way to set up a great petition fast. They make it easy for you and supporters to share your petition and keep supporters up to date.
In the UK there are four key platforms for you to consider:
1. 38 Degrees. 38 Degrees is a UK organization that promotes democracy, peace, human rights, equality and sustainability. They run their own campaigns and also have a petition platform with lots of tips and guides.
2. Change.org. Change.org is a global petition platform that helps people run their own online campaigns. They’ve had 234 million people sign the petitions on their website and also have lots of tips and guides.
3. Care2. Care2 is another global petition platform that helps people run their own campaigns. They’ve had 653 million people sign petitions on their website and also have lots of tips and guides.
4. Gov.UK. Gov.uk is a petition site run by the government. If you start a petition there and get over 10,000 signatures the government will respond. If you get over 100,000 signatures then parliament may decide to debate your petition. However, you should use the site with a lot of caution, because unlike all the petition sites mentioned above they don’t allow you to contact your petition signees. This is a big problem, as communicating with people supporting your petition is very important, and helps you build powerful, meaningful campaigns. You can read more about this at: https://petition.parliament.uk/
Writing Your Petition
Writing your petition is like writing a great campaign email. Check out that guide here: https://campaignbootcamp.org/resources/how-to-use-email-in-your-campaigning/
But there are a couple of important tips that can make petitions different and that help them get huge support:
1. Name the campaign target. Clearly naming the campaign target — the person who has the power to make change happen — helps focus supporters’ attention and puts them on notice that your campaign is active! It’s also normally a requirement of the online petition tools for these reasons.
2. Write your petition’s title. Your petition title is your first chance to engage supporters and make it clear what change you want. Here are a couple of tips to make your title stand out:
Keep it short
The petition title is often used on social media, so long titles will get cut off!
Highlight the solution or the problem
People will decide quickly whether to read your petition based on the title, so focus on what you want to change.
Make your headline emotional and urgent
We live in a busy world, and a great way to catch people’s attention is to put your heart out there.
3. Use stories and explain why they matter to you.
Tell your story or the story of the people impacted by the campaign
People empathise with other people more than issues, and telling your story or the story of the people impacted can form an invisible bond of support.
Explain why it matters to you personally and/or to the world
Describe your hopes and fears for this campaign to raise the stakes, which can make a more powerful story.
Spell out your goal
Make it clear what you and the people impacted by the campaign want for the future and the obstacles that stand in their way.
4. Add an image! An image is worth a thousand words, and is one of the first things people will see along with the title.
Some quick tips:
- Find images that show emotion
- Look for images that show the problem, the people impacted by the problem, or the people fighting to fix it (that’s you!)
- Find images using Google’s Image search tool
If you want to read more about creating a good petition, Change.org have made a great guide here: https://guide.change.org/create
Sharing Your Petition
Once your petition is ‘live’ it’s time to share it to start building support!
Most of the Online petition platforms have set up really easy tools to help you share, and this is just a short list of places you can share:
- On your Facebook account, by asking your friends to spread the word
- Email it to a list of supporters (see here)
- Ask other organisations to email it to their supporters or put it on their Facebook page