create a successful petition campaign - woman working on laptop

by Marsha Rakestraw

Every day on my Facebook feed and email inbox I see calls for signing petitions. Online petitions are becoming a popular advocacy tool, and sites such as Change.org, MoveOn, Care2 and Avaaz make it “easy” for nearly anyone to launch a petition for a favorite cause.

In our globalized, interconnected world, creating a meaningful, effective, actionable petition campaign is one strategy we can use in working toward a better world for all.

But a lot of those petitions I receive I don’t sign. Why? Because they’re too vague. Or they target someone who doesn’t have the authority to act on that issue Or they don’t provide accurate information. And some of them are poorly written.

Not all petitions are effective or meaningful. Which is why it’s important that we follow specific strategies and guidelines. Here are just a few sources:

One of IHE’s M.Ed. graduates, Jessie Huart Sullivan, successfully led a petition campaign in 2012 to encourage United Airlines to remove its “breed ban” policy against nine breeds of dogs. Jessie’s petition garnered nearly 46,000 signatures and an eventual change in the airline’s policy.