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Petitions - what they are and how to create them

Want to create change or peacefully protest? Petitions are a great way to make a difference


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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Creating change, big or small, can feel overwhelming at times whether it's at local, national or international levels. But if there's an issue affecting you and others that you feel strongly about, a petition can be a good way to communicate that issue and get support for a cause. 

There are a few different things to consider when creating a petition - that can be whether to have it online or in writing. Some of the main things that translate on and offline though is communicating the message and issue you want changed. 

What or who do you want to petition?

Is there a particular politician, political party or particular institution you would like to protest against? Be clear about who you are aiming the petition at, choose the relevant person(s) that can effectively create/influence the change that you would like to see.

Written Petitions:

  • Explain and describe clearly at the top of the petition what the petition is actually about 
  • Create columns - have spaces for signatures, names, address, phone number/email
  • Have a short paragraph at the end to state what action you want to occur as a result of the petition
  • Add page numbers to keep track of the amount of signatures and make copies for handing out
  • Have friends/family/neighbours give you a hand getting signatures
  • Go to areas of high activity to maximise exposure, so if it's your local supermarket at 6pm on a Friday, be there

Online Petitions:

  • There a number of resources that are handy for creating petitions online, check out iPetitions, GoPetition, PetitionOnline.ie
  • These can be effective if you can reach a wide enough audience through social media and online forums
  • If you are using an online provider check if they have a filter so there isn't double signatures and that they won't use the information of people who sign the petition for third parties

Research:

  • It's always important to properly research an issue so you can communicate clearly and convince people to get on board with your campaign or cause
  • It helps to have good facts and reasonable expectations around the action of a petition so it appears feasible and realistic to the public
  • This will make it easier to get people to sign the petition and harder for people to argue against the campaign
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Published July 23rd2013
Last updated Octo­ber 19th2018
Tags activism social change petition
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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