Handing in your petition or open letter is an essential step in every campaign to make sure your target sees your call for action and the support behind it, feels the pressure and responds.

An important thing to know when you're thinking about handing in your petition or open letter is that it doesn't mean the campaign is over. Once it's been handed in you can still ask people to sign and keep growing your signatures as it's an important tool to help you keep building support until you win! And if another moment comes to hand in your petition again, you can.

So, when it comes to handing in your petition or open letter, the only way to go wrong is to not do it at all. There's no one rule, but generally, there are a few different moments in a campaign where it is good to do a hand in.

When your petition or open letter has lots of signatures

This is probably the most common reason to hand in your petition or open letter - because you have lots of support and you want to make sure the target knows all about the campaign.

How many signatures you want before handing in your petition depends on your campaign. If you're campaigning for change where you work and lots of your colleagues have signed, a few dozen signatures may be enough depending on the size of your workplace. If your campaign target is the government or local council, you may want hundreds or even a few thousand signatures before handing it in for the first time.

If your campaign really gets big and gets tens of thousands of signatures, it's definitely time to hand it in. But don't forget to check in with a campaign coach at Organise to make plans for the next steps of your campaign!

Before a crucial deadline or decision time

If there's a deadline or decision time for your campaign, you want to make sure the decision-makers know about the support behind your call before they make their decision. So whether there's a deadline when the change you are opposing comes into force, or the campaign target has said when a decision is due - make sure you hand in your petition before then.

Before an important event or meeting

In many campaigns, there can be an important event or meeting that is relevant to the issue you're campaigning on. It may be you're looking to change something at work that the board or investors have power to change - in which case you want to make sure you hand in your petition before the board meeting, annual general meeting, or stockholders meeting. Or if the target is the government or local council, there may be a debate, committee meeting or vote on the issue.

How to hand in your petition or open letter

When it comes to handing in your petition or open letter, you can do it as simply or elaborately as you want! It all depends on what works best for you and your campaign. A hand in can be as straightforward as an anonymous email, or you can go a little bigger with an in-person delivery to Number 10 Downing street or a minister.

However you hand in your petition, make sure you include your contact details so the decision-maker can respond to you easily. And don't forget to make sure you keep your supporters in the know every step of the way! They’ll be excited to support you and help grow the campaign as much as possible before the big day - plus making it public helps keep your decision-maker accountable for responding!

The Organise team will be on hand to support you with your hand in if you need. But here's all the essential info you need to arrange your petition or open letter hand in:

Handing in your petition or open letter to Downing Street or a government department

Handing in your petition in person is a great way to make a big moment for your campaign. You can even invite some of your supporters along to join you and show strength in numbers! Make sure if you're going in person you take plenty of pictures to share with your supporters.

Handing in at Number 10 or Number 11 Downing Street

You can arrange to deliver your petition straight to the PM at Number 10 or the Chancellor at Number 11. Up to six people are allowed through security to the doorstep, but it's essential to book in your petition delivery at least 5 business days in advance with the Downing Street Liaison Team at the Met Police. Petition deliveries can be booked in on Tuesdays 1500-1800, Thursdays all day & Fridays 0900-1400.

To book a petition hand in, simply email the liaison team at PaDPmailbox-DSLO@met.police.uk or call 0203 2762934. They'll then send you a form to complete and return at least 5 working days before your visit, which will ask you to provide personal details including date of birth, place of birth and address for everyone who is coming.

Handing into a government department

To hand in your petition to a minister or government department, it's best to call in advance to let the department know you're coming. You can ask for someone from the department to come down to receive the petition from you, but often you'll be asked to hand in your petition at the reception. You can look up the number to call by visiting the department website and checking the contact us section: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations

Handing in via email

If you're not able to arrange to hand in your petition or open letter in person, an email hand in is still a really effective way to make sure the PM, Chancellor or minister knows about your campaign.

You can email the PM via this contact form: https://email.number10.gov.uk/

You can email the Chancellor using this email address: public.enquiries@hmtreasury.gov.uk

For government departments look up their contact details here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations

Here's a template email you can use:

Dear [Decision maker],

Please find below a petition/ open letter signed by over XX people, calling for XYZ.

I started this petition/ open letter because XYZ.

Here is the full petition/ open letter:

[Copy and paste your petition or open letter copy]

The number of signatures is continuing to rise, you can see an up to date count online here: [Link to your campaign]

If you would like the full list of signatures in a secure file, please contact Organise at action@organise.network 

I look forward to receiving your response.

Handing into your workplace or employer

When handing in your petition or open letter where you work, the most impactful thing you can do is ask for a meeting with bosses to hand in and discuss the campaign. If you're nervous about approaching your employer alone, it's a good idea to gather together with a few of your colleagues who have supported the campaign to make a request as a group. You can then present your petition or open letter to your bosses at the meeting.

If you do manage to secure a meeting with your employer to talk about your campaign, have a think about how to make the most of the opportunity. You may want to do a final push to make sure as many of your colleagues have added their names as possible to make your power clear. You may also want to do a people-powered report to dig further into the issue and make a powerful case for the change your want to see.

Always remember the Organise team are on hand to help you make a plan and make it happen - just contact us at action@organise.network

Delivering your petition or open letter anonymously

If you want to keep your identity private when handing in your petition or open letter to your employer, you can hand in via an anonymous email through Organise. The first step is to decide exactly who you want to send the petition or open letter to - it could be the CEO, board members, or a specific person with the power to make the change you want - or all of the above! Once you have found their contact details, contact the Organise team at action@organise.network to arrange to deliver anonymously.