Petitions are a way for you to gather supporters behind a specific demand and show company bosses or the government that there's lots of support for the change you want to make. It's a powerful first step in any campaign, and you can keep your identity private if you would like to.
Not sure whether you should use a petition or an open letter? Check out our short guide
If you've not set up a petition before, or not sure how to start, don't worry! There's a few simple tips you can follow and a step-by-step guide below. It can take as little as 5 minutes to set up.
Top tips for writing your petition:
- Explain the issue and the change you want in the same way you would explain it when chatting with friends or family. You don't need to use formal or technical language, you want everyone to understand even if they don't work in the same industry or role as you.
- Keep it short and simple. You want people reading you petition to understand what it's about quickly. Two or three short paragraphs is ideal!
- Personal stories are really powerful. people are more likely to support your petition if it’s clear why you care. Explain how this change will impact you, your family, or your working environment.
- This one’s really important: keep it professional. You might be feeling upset or angry at your employer, and it’s fine to say in that you’re feeling like that. But if you want your employer to take it seriously, make sure it is professional, and not a rant or a moan.
Petitions have a few parts to them, here's a step-by-step guide for writing your petition to make it clear and powerful:
1. The Title
This is the first thing people will see and so it's the most important! Focus on the change you are looking to make, and the solution rather than the problem.
Research by Change.org found that in UK petition titles starting with the word 'Protect' gained 50% more supporters than petitions starting 'Demand', and 'Save' recruited 95% more!
So instead of "Stop paying lorry drivers poverty wages" try "Pay all lorry drivers a real living wage" or instead of "Don't cut holiday pay for Asda workers" try " Save our holidays! Keep fair holiday pay for Asda workers."
Titles don't have to be super short - the key is to clearly explain the change you want in one short sentence, rather than just a few words.
2. The target or decision-maker
The target of your petition is the person, people or organisation who has the power to make the change you are calling for. It's the who you plan to hand the petition in to, rather than who you are asking to sign.
Not sure who to target? Read our guide to deciding on a target or decision-maker.
3. Why is this important?
This is your opportunity to explain why the issue is so important and persuade people to join your campaign. This will be the longest part of your petition, 2 or 3 short paragraphs is ideal.
Explain the issue that you want to change the same way you would when talking to friends and family about it. Talk about how it affects people, and how making the change you are calling for would positively impact colleagues and anyone who is affected.
If you have personal experience of the issue, or have friends, family or colleagues who do, include it! Sharing your story is the most powerful and effective way to encourage more people to support your campaign. You don't have to go into a lot of detail, just share how it impacts you, your family, or your working environment.
4. The petition ask
The petition ask is the "thing" you are asking supporters to put their names behind, and the action you are calling on the target to take. You want to keep it clear, short and focus on the change you are looking for. One or two sentences is perfect.
Start with a "doing word" like stop, keep, protect, save, scrap, pay - this will help you focus the ask on the action you would like to happen.
Ready to set up your petition? Once you've set it up, the Organise team will be on hand to help you run and win your campaign!
More questions? Check out our other short guides
If you can't find what you need get in touch with the organise team at firstname.lastname@example.org