How to Create a Care2 Petition: Crafting Your Petition Page

This is the second 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.

In our last installment, we told you how to determine if your passion is right for the petition format, and how to identify your target — the person, company or group that can create the change you want to see. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to write your petition.

To gather support for your cause, you’ll need to explain why people should care about the issue. You can do this by telling a compelling story about the problem you’re trying to solve and why people should support your campaign. When people read your petition, they should feel as passionate about the issue as you do.

If this issue impacts you personally, tell the world about it! Petition signers want to know how people are really affected by the issues they’re trying to change, so adding a story or emotional aspect to your petition makes it more compelling to your potential signers — and your target!

How to draft the text of a petition:

1. Choose a title that is short and packs a punch: action words like “stop,” “urge,” “demand,” and “justice” tend to get people excited about the petition.

2. Choose a photo that is clear and meaningful — research shows pages with photos are more likely to grab the attention of your potential signers. If possible, use a photo of people/animals/organizations involved in the issue. If you don’t have a particular photo in mind, use Care2′s provided image library or find a related image on Creative Commons.

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3. Start the summary text with a clear explanation of the issue — just one or two sentences long. It should briefly explain exactly what your petition is trying to change or accomplish. Answer the question: What does winning this petition look like? For example, people may dismiss a petition called “Save the Tigers!” because it’s unclear what needs to happen for the campaign to be a victory. Try something more concrete, like: “Please sign my petition to save tigers from a new Indian logging proposal that will destroy their habitat.”

4. In the next paragraph of the petition summary, include a key statistic or fact related to your cause. Petitions should be around 250 words, but it is important to be thorough and include all the relevant information so people who sign come away with a strong idea of what they’re supporting. Remember, people from all over the world may come across your petition, so don’t assume they know the location of your town or the way your government works. Give a lot of details about your story, and include a relevant fact or two without getting bogged down with numbers.

5. Break up the text into paragraphs, and don’t include too much information in one big block.

6. After writing the petition summary, it’s time to write the text of the petition itself. This is a letter addressed to the petition’s target outlining the change that the petition seeks to make: a plea to the person in power to listen to the demands of the public. The petition text should have much of the same information as the petition summary, but it’s written in the form of a letter addressed to the target with a signoff (“Sincerely, the undersigned,” for example.) To write this effectively, ask yourself what will persuade the person in charge to make the right decision — what do they need to know, and how can you appeal to their humanity and motivations?

A great example of a well-written petition is this petition by the mother of an autistic child whose therapy chickens were in danger of being taken away. Notice the short, snappy title, compelling photo of the little boy who wanted to keep his chickens, and very passionate personal story from a concerned mother.

The petition begins with the story of how the little boy, Anthony, befriended his pet chickens and how they help him deal with autism. The last sentence of the paragraph clearly states the issue at hand: local officials demanded that he give up his chickens or face an outrageous fine. The petition gives details about the officials’ demands, her son’s reaction, and how important it is for Anthony to keep the therapy animals. Bolded in the second paragraph is a proposal for a concrete solution to the problem: “Ask that [the town of Brownsburg] pass a variance that would allow him to keep his therapy chickens.”

When writing your petition, be thorough, and be excited! Make sure people who read your petition come away with a solid understanding of the issue and a drive to join the fight for change.

So what are you waiting for? Start your Care2 petition today.

429 comments

Lesa D
Lesa D20 days ago

thank you Emily...

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John J
John Jabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Lesa D
Lesa D2 months ago

thank you Emily...

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago

TY

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Lesa D
Lesa D3 months ago

thank you Emily...

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Lesa D
Lesa D4 months ago

thank you Emily...

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Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy B5 months ago

Noted

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Peggy B
Peggy B6 months ago

TY

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