Tip: How to Contact Your Target
Here’s a real-life scenario: You care about a cause, like and protecting your water from contamination caused by fracking for oil and gas in your state. This particular issue is deeply important to you, perhaps for personal reasons, perhaps political ones. You know you want to make a difference, so you decide on a specific goal to work towards — perhaps it’s banning all local fracking. You start a Care2 petition, following our advice on writing it in a heart-wrenching, eye-catching way, and then you begin gathering signatures. You’ve even chosen a great target (also known as a recipeitn or decision-maker), someone who is in a position of authority to whom you’ll deliver your petition when you’re ready. But what comes next?
Well, here’s a question for you: Does your petition recipient know about your petition yet?
Even if you’ve started collecting hundreds of local signatures, authority figures still might not have heard anything about your petition. It’s your job to make sure that they do. Without their attention, your petition is unlikely to really make an impact — so it’s important to alert your recipient to your cause.
Here’s how to contact your recipient:
Find the decision-maker’s page on Facebook and write a post on their page about your petition. Make sure to mention how many signatures you have and include the link! Or, you could write a post on your own page and “tag” the decision-maker in it using the “@” sign. Facebook will ping them to let them know what you wrote, and they’ll get a notification every time someone else comments on or shares that post. It’s a good way to catch their eye fast! Learn more about how to use Facebook for activism here!
Is the decision-maker you’re targeting on Twitter? If so, write a tweet (a post the size of a short text message) and “tag” the decision-maker in it using the “@” sign. Twitter will notify them about the tweet, and they’ll even receive notifications every time someone else “likes” it or “retweets” it.
3. Email or Snail-Mail Letter.
Write a respectful – and brief – email or letter to the decision-maker. In the letter, explain what the issue is and why you started your petition in a paragraph. Then, tell them how many signatures you’ve gathered already, and point out that momentum is building to support your cause. The point of this letter is to inform the decision-maker about your petition, but you can also request a meeting with them to talk over the issue.
4. Phone Call.
It may seem too intimate and personal to call, but I promise that this is the best way to make a target pay attention – and fast! Why? No one else calls. Because it seems scary. Because it seems intrusive. Etc etc. But that means your call will be a rarity, and they’ll pay attention. Ask if the decision-maker has seen your petition, and if they seem open to the idea, request a meeting.
5. In-Person Meeting.
Did you successfully schedule one with your recipient? If so, check out our blog post about how successful petition author Donny used a meeting to make sure his petition became a victory! You want to use this opportunity to express your concerns directly to your recipient and establish a line of dialogue. Bring the petition with you (either online on the Care2 site or printed on paper) to show your target.
Next Step: Want to find the contact information for the decision-maker you’re targeting, but not sure how? Use Google.com to do some creative sleuthing — you could try searching for your target’s name and the words “email” or “contact” or “phone”, or try looking up the phone number for the local office where they work.
Itching to get some specific advice?
If you want further advice on how to reach out to decision-makers, how to get signatures, or how to generally make your petition better, check out our Activist University forum on Facebook. Our community of grassroots advocates and do-good trouble-makers will be excited to help answer your questions and help you make your petition as powerful as possible.