The Power of Petitions
Don’t believe us?
Just ask Costco. They recently stopped selling unsustainable fish like cod and Chilean sea bass after more than 100,000 people signed a petition in protest. Or talk to clothing store J Crew, which adopted its fur-free policy following pressure from PETA that included, you guessed it, a petition.
Petitions, which are written requests calling for action, are so influential because they can quickly draw attention to an issue and prove there’s a lot of support behind making a change. The more signatures you get, the better chance your petition will have an impact.
So if you’re looking for a quick way to show you’ve got support for your cause, consider penning a petition and see what happens. Here’s how:
1) Do Your Homework: Researching the issue from every angle – the background, current concerns, and possible solutions – will help make your petition relevant and give you the knowledge you’ll need to talk it up when asking for signatures.
2) Follow the Format: Write a straightforward title for your petition and follow it with a sentence that says who the petition will be sent to. Next, write a paragraph stating the problem your petition addresses, along with your proposed solution. Lastly, create a signature form that begins with these three words: “We the undersigned…” For example, “We the undersigned petition the closure of Fir Creek Park.” Lastly, on every signature form, create a space for people’s signature, address, and the date they signed. (You can download a sample template at the end of this article!)
3) Write Well: Simple, to-the-point language is important when you write a petition. People want to know a) the problem, b) your solution, and c) how their signature will help. Finally, be sure to spell check and proofread your petition before getting signatures – a misspelled petition is not a convincing one.
4) Spread the Word: Solicit the help of friends and family and set aside organized time to canvass neighborhoods and collect signatures. Use the buddy system and be armed with petitions, clipboards, pens, and a can-do attitude!
5) Go Online: Tap into the power of social media to spread the word by hosting an online version of your petition. Between Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and petition hosting sites like The Petition Site, you’ll be able to get attention for your cause in quick, effective ways.
6) Don’t Give Up: Petitioning can be hard work, especially when you’re in the asking-for-signatures mode. But remember, change is possible, especially at local levels. It might take a few weeks for your petition to take off, but with your perseverance and creativity, you’ll be well on your way!
Download a Heart of Gold Petition Template here!