Petitions have taken the internet by storm as a popular and often succesfol method of harnessing public opinion to enact change, propose legislation, and build grassroots organizations. (It's no surprise it takes up a prominent position in the Wings feature set).
But it can be tricky to get petitions right. What are the typical ingredients of a succesful petition campaign? Here's our take.
Be conscious and strategic
The thing about petitions is: they are so darn effective in terms of getting people to sign up in support of a cause, progressive organizations run the risk of overusing them and ultimately eroding their potential to enact positive change. Petition fatigue is a thing.
Petitions are in danger of being overused, because they can so easily present merely a veneer of Serious Action Being Taken – while in reality, nothing much happens beside a lot of people filling out a form, perhaps even as an alternative to actually doing something.
Moreover, some organizations are tempted to rely on petitions as a 'growth hacking' strategy, using petitions first and foremost as a surefire way to get scores of people to opt in to their newsletter, in order to be bombarded by followup pleas for donations.
It can be helpful to imagine there is a weekly finite potential for the public to Actually Care About Stuff. Petitions are a powerful tool to harness a public sentiment about issues, which should only be employed if you are sincere about your goals, and strategic in your execution and follow-up. This guide aims to help you with that.