This is the last post in a series of five explaining the ins and outs of creating a petition: from what to write in your petition text to advanced promotion and activism techniques. This series is a how-to guide for creating a successful petition and helping it reach its highest potential.
So far in this series, you’ve learned how to target your petition, how to write a great petition, how to promote it on social media and advanced promotion techniques. After following these steps, you’re sure to have a ton of signatures and be ready to really make a splash. The next step is to deliver the petition and signatures to your target!
1. Set up an in-person meeting.
If possible, try to establish a relationship with your target before organizing a rally, protest, march or other on-the-ground event. See if they’d be willing to meet with you in person for a one-on-one meeting where you can express your concerns and show them the petition (either online or printed on paper).
To get a meeting with your target try to find their contact information online. If you’re targeting a government agency, find a phone number or make an appearance at their branch’s local meeting if possible.
1a. Send the signatures by email.
If you don’t have the opportunity to deliver petition signatures in person, you can download the signatures as a PDF and send an email to your target with the petition and signatures attached. Just go to Care2 Petitions, log in, click “dashboard,” then find your petition and click “manage.” From there you can click “download signatures” and they’ll download right to your computer as a PDF file, which you can attach in an email to your target.
2. Plan an event.
Although sending the signatures over email can get your target’s attention, an in-person event is much harder to ignore — especially if a lot of people take notice! It can also attract press or social media attention, helping to pressure your target even more and possibly gain even more signatures as well. Your petition delivery event has the potential to put pressure on your target and push the change you want to see.
Explore holding an event like a rally, march or press conference. All you need to do is establish a time, date and place where your target will take notice — maybe outside their office or on the street at City Hall. Create signs, and print out the petition signatures so you’ll have them on hand.
3. Get the word out.
If you’re planning an event or rally, spread the word to ask supporters to attend. Create a Facebook event for your delivery and encourage people in your personal network to join and share the event. Or, make a hashtag on Facebook and Twitter and try to get your event to trend! You can also send out a petition update about the event, asking Care2 members in the area to join. You should also let the media know about this event.
Using the tactics we mentioned last week, send a pitch to reporters telling them about the petition delivery event. If you already have contact with reporters, send them a note, too. The media often likes to cover petition deliveries, so it couldn’t hurt to pitch the local news your petition. Make sure you’re ready with talking points for reporters who are interested!
4. Make the most of your event.
It’s crucial to document your petition delivery event. Take photos or videos so you can post them to social media to show your supporters how the event played out. Reporters may also want to see (and publish!) the photos, so always bring a camera.
When the date of the delivery arrives, make a statement with a visual. Make or print posters or deliver the signatures in a big flashy box instead of a folder. Be creative!
For example, a Care2 member in New Jersey petitioned her local senator to pass a law that would allow her to sell homemade baked goods from her house. When she delivered the petition signatures to her senator, she presented him with a freshly baked cake.
Another example is a citizens’ group in Australia that petitioned their local planning minister to stop a housing development that would destroy the habitat of native koalas. Their petition delivery included someone dressed in a koala costume — a surefire way to snag attention.
After the petition delivery, keep the pressure up! Ask supporters to send letters and make phone calls to your target so they know you won’t quit. Let your target know how much support your cause has.
That’s it! Congratulations for seeing your petition campaign through to the end. As President Obama said, “A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.” That’s the spirit of Care2, and we are so glad you are a part of this amazing community.