How to Create a Virtual Petition
A virtual petition is a powerful advocacy tool. Its amplification and collective effect have facilitated countless policy changes and corporate reforms.
When people feel like their actions are making a difference, they’re more likely to support your cause again and again. To keep readers engaged, share updates on your campaign and other ways they can help.
Get the Facts Right
Petitioning can be a great way to signal a concern to government agencies. It can also serve other purposes, such as demonstrating support to media outlets (which can help gain attention and influence coverage), raising money for additional advocacy campaigns or spurring political discussion and debate.
Since e-petitions compete with a variety of items on individuals’ highly selective news feeds, they must be both relevant and attractive to signers. Drawing on two different perspectives of persuasion—story-based narrative persuasion and metrics-driven heuristic persuasion—we argue that story-like text features and popularity cues are effective for promoting petition signing behavior.
Make the pathway to advocacy as direct as possible for your supporters by including a progress thermometer and linking to the petition website in all your campaign materials, social media and text messages. You can even include a link in your email signature. Encourage your volunteer team, social media followers and friends to share the petition with their network as well.
Create a Petition Website
Petition websites offer a wide range of features to help organizers maximize the impact of their petition campaigns. For example, some platforms allow users to name decision-makers or influencers, include petition highlights, set a campaign duration, and write persuasive text that appeals to a variety of audiences.
Keep in mind that petitions need to tell a story. People want to understand why they should care about a particular issue, so consider including personal stories and emotions. This can make your petition more engaging and encourage signers to take action.
It’s also important to add social share buttons to your petition website so that supporters can easily promote the petition on their own channels. This will increase the number of signatures your petition gets, as well as raise awareness about the problem in general.
Depending on government regulations, you may need to collect a specific number of signatures before your campaign is considered valid. This is where your eSignature system can help.
Publish your petition on a website so people can easily share it on social media. Make sure the title and text are compelling enough to encourage action. It’s also important to show the effect that your petition will have if it is successful.
Consider asking friends, family and colleagues to sign your petition, either online or in person. Collecting in-person signatures can be time consuming but it can have more impact.
Find partnerships with local celebrities, influencers or politicians who can help you spread the word about your petition. Search hashtags online to find people who care about your issue and are willing to help you with your campaign. Post your petition link on your partner’s social media or in their email discussion lists.
Promote Your Petition
You’ll want to promote your petition by using social media and email. Many online petition platforms include social sharing tools that help you distribute your petition. Some even offer paid Facebook ads, which tend to lead to the highest number of new signatures and email signups.
When promoting your petition, use clear and concise writing. Avoid unnecessary information that can make the petition seem long and boring. Your audience is likely reading on a mobile device and will not have the time to read a lot of text.
Your goal is to elicit as much support as possible in as short of a time as possible. This is why choosing a petition platform that allows you to create and publish pages quickly is important. Each step of your campaign – from landing page to confirmation page to donation page – should feel like a unified whole in order to maximize conversions.