Petition or open letter?

Petitions and open letters are a great way to kick off your campaign and start bringing lots of people on board to help you win the change you want. They are similar tools, allowing people to show support for the demand, and can be used to influence employers, the government and everyone in between.

Both tools can also be set up anonymously if you'd rather keep your identity private. It can be hard to know which to pick but the good news is there is no wrong answer! Here are some pointers to help you decide:


Petitions are a way for you to gather supporters behind a specific demand.

A petition is a way to prove there's lots of support for the change you want. Once there are lots of people behind your call, always make sure to hand it in for maximum impact!


They are great if you have a clear and simple ask which you can write in a sentence or two. They often work best if it's a straightforward issue people can understand quickly. You will still write a paragraph or two to explain why the issue is important to you to help bring people on board, but people are signing to support the specific ask.


 - For example, a petition is a great choice if you want to campaign for your employer to pay all staff a real living wage, or for the government to u-turn on a new policy that affects you at work.


How to write a great petition


Want to look at some examples? Here's some awesome petitions to check out:


Ted Baker

Waterstones Wage



Open letters are a way for you to build support by asking people to add their names to a public letter that lays out shared concerns, experiences and a call for action.


Open letters are public so they put the spotlight on the person it is addressed to. Because it's seen by lots of people it means the person you’ve sent it to has to reply. And because you also make their reply public, it means they’re under pressure to give an honest response.


They're a great tool to let decision-makers know not just what you want but also why you want it. You can use them to give more context about why you're calling for action and/or more detail on what you would like to change.


- For example, if using an open letter to your employer you can give some anonymised examples of the issue where you work and suggest changes you would like to see.


Open letters can also work well if you have a broader call that may not have a single solution, or if there are several issues you want to raise.


- For example, if you would like to raise the issue of staff welfare and have several ideas for how your employer could address the problem.


How to write a powerful open letter


Want to look at some examples? Here's some awesome open letters to check out:


Open Letter to the National Theatre



Ready to set up your petition or open letter? Once you've set it up, the Organise team will be on hand to help you run and win your campaign!


Start a Campaign


More questions? Check out our other short guides


Picking the target of your petition or open letter


If you can't find what you need get in touch with the Organise team at action@organise.network