Before starting and creating your petition, you should think about how much time you can and want to invest and which factors might be crucial in contributing to the success of your petition.
You should only start your petition on one platform. It might be tempting to spread your cause, but publishing on many petition platforms at the same time is counterproductive. You might confuse potential supporters where to sign and impede media coverage, such as hyperlinking a platform in an online article. Collected signatures would be considered as two different petitions. It’s better to decide on one platform, bundle your energy and focus on one thing. These important first steps help you:
a) Schedule – what happens when?
There are two important dates in terms of time management: the day of publication and the day of submission; with the collection period in between. You should have an idea about the best timing for your cause, which might depend on political decisions (e.g. in local councils) or public events which might help your cause (e.g. Day of Human Rights, establishment of a new law).
Public holidays or events which lie within the time frame of the collection period are great to draw media attention to your cause. Research possible events and use them to generate social media posts, news and press releases. The National Day of Environmental Protection might be useful if your petition is against deforestation. The establishment of a new law regarding schools in one state might help you if your petition is for the establishment of a new law in another state. Create a rough schedule to gain an overview over your planned actions and don’t miss out on the the perfect moment.
b) Analysis of stakeholders – who is important?
Apart from when, it is also important with whom you plan your actions. Before starting, you should analyse stakeholders to find out which ones are most important and most useful for you (people, organisations, authorities etc.). You might want to ask yourself the following questions: 1. Which staekholders are the most powerful regarding my cause and can take decisions? 2. Who is supporting me with my cause?
It is also important to filter out staekholders which are potentially against your cause. On that basis, you can establish where it might be worth making an effort persuading people, where you will probably receive support and where you might have to be careful.
Analysis of stakeholders are useful for orientation and structuring who to approach.
A petition titled “Ban on private fireworks for New Year’s in Great Britain” might gain support amongst residents – which have little influence. In comparison, parliamentary group B, which is fighting for environmental protection, has more influence and most probably supports your cause. Here it might be worth contacting delegates and convincing them to support your cause. Also, you could seek support from environmental or animal protection organisations which again can put pressure on political decision-makers. This is the way to manage a large, civil-society-orientated alliance which underlines the importance of your cause.
Back to Advice on how to create a successful petition on openPetition.