Do online petitions really make a difference?
Yes! A number of factors influence the effectiveness of a petition. The more the individual or organization you're targeting is accountable to public opinion, the more effective your petition will be.
In addition, ThePetitionSite enhances the credibility of online petitions by centralizing signature collection, regulating signature data collection and output and by using fraud-reduction technology. The effect of a petition goes far beyond the actual list of signatures. Journalists write stories about petitions, signers get inspired to take additional action and other potential targets conform their behavior to avoid being a target. Check out examples of successful petitions on Care2 Causes.
Who will see my signature information?
Certain fields will be displayed on the public signature page for all to see -- generally your full name, your state, and the date and time at which you signed the petition. Your email address, street address and telephone number are never displayed on this page. You are always given the option to check a box to hide your name, and replace it with the word "anonymous."
At the close of the petition, we provide all of the signature information to the petition author with the exception of your email address, street address and telephone number. These fields of information will only be used on a case by case basis to verify the validity of your signature. Your privacy is important to us! ThePetitionSite.com and Care2.com believe in protecting personal privacy online.
Why do I have to input all that information?
We know we ask for a lot of info -- but we promise it's important. Many officials (including members of the U.S. Congress) don't accept a letter or comment unless they have your full name, including a prefix. We need the address to make sure we can match your signature to your representatives. Unless you give us permission, we don't use this information for anything other than matching you with advocacy opportunities and targets.
Does Care2 only allow signatures from the United States?
Definitely not! Care2 is a global community with members, readers and activists from every country on earth. We aim to empower citizens everywhere to speak out on the issues they care about. When signing a petition, make sure to set your country in the drop-down menu. When you do, the fields should automatically change to correspond to the address information required where you live.
Does it matter if I do not live in the state/country the petition is addressing?
Each petition on our site is different. Some are for anyone of any nation or state, while others are targeted specifically to certain countries, or certain U.S. states. The truth is, many officials only accept letters from their constituents. However, that doesn't mean that your signature will go to waste. Petitions with lots of signatures get better media coverage, targets pay attention to the magnitude of engagement and many petition authors appreciate knowing that their issue resonated with a lot of people. When in doubt, it never hurts to sign, even if it's just in solidarity.
Why do I need to leave a comment when signing a petition?
Comments add weight to the petition and make your signature unique. Some offices get thousands of letters a day. You want to make sure the official and her staffers pay attention to you, and the best way to do that is by personalizing your letter with a comment. Additionally, some government organizations have decided that all identical letters (sometimes thousands) will count as one public comment and not more, thus invalidating the individual signatures. To make sure your signature counts, we ask that you add a unique comment at the end of the letter. This ensures that the target reads each letter that we collect.
I made a mistake in my signature, how can I change it?
You can only sign once. Because petition letters are often sent to the target immediately upon signing, you cannot edit your signature information once it has been submitted. But, you can remove your signature after the fact by clicking the link that says "You can use this link to remove your signature" in the thank you email that you receive after you sign a petition.
How do I contact the petition owner?
To contact the sponsor of any petition on our site, click on the sponsor's name listed under the target. The sponsor will receive your message, and will be given your email address, so that they may respond to your feedback.
How can I keep track of the petitions that I have signed?
In order to track the petitions you have signed, click on the "My PetitionSite" link in the upper right corner of the PetitionSite homepage and most other pages on PetitionSite.com. You can also hover over "My Care2" in the upper right corner of any page on Care2, and choose "My PetitionSite" from that menu. Then, click on the "Petitions I Signed" tab to see your signatures all in one place. In addition, every time you sign, you will receive a confirmation email. You can file these emails in a mail folder in order to keep your own record of signed petitions.
CREATE A PETITION
Who can create a petition?
Anyone can create a petition. All you need is a desire to make a difference. Once you have published your petition, people can start signing. You must have a Care2 account in order to host a petition on The Petition Site. However, if you do not already have a Care2 account, you'll be given a chance to create one as you write your petition. You can get started here.
How much does it cost to start a petition?
It's free! We have created The PetitionSite to be a free community of people taking action and garnering support for their concerns. We encourage anyone and everyone to get involved and take a swing at sponsoring a petition. It is also completely free to sign a petition, and we encourage people to send petitions on to their friends and family. Every petition has buttons to automatically share the petition on Facebook and Twitter, email the petition to your friends and get code for a widget that you can put on your blog or website.
What petition topics are acceptable?
ThePetitionSite.com is a non-partisan tool for people working on a variety of issues and causes. What's in it for us? By driving traffic to ThePetitionSite.com, we hope to build community around important causes, support the democratic process, and help organizations we support as well. Petitions on all sides of an issue are welcome. All you need is an issue and a desire to make a difference. We accept petitions on any subject, but please, no advertisements or petitions designed specifically to get Butterfly Rewards. We reserve the right to remove petitions found to be excessively offensive by our users or editorial staff, and petitions that violate our Terms of Service. Please see our Terms of Service for more information.
1) A clear target who has the power to act on what you're asking him/her to do.
2) An eye-catching title that tells people exactly what you want them to do and why. i.e. "Tell the Interior Department to Protect Habitat for Endangered Wolves."
3) A brief summary of the issue with a call to action -- no more than 2-3 paragraphs to give people context about the issue and make a pitch for their support.
4) An actual petition or letter -- this is the text you'll actually be sending to the target (if you have one). Make sure it's clear and forceful, yet respectful. You want your target to understand your passion, but also take you seriously.
5) A compelling photo -- Photos aren't always easy to find, but, like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you don't own a photo, try looking online for Creative Commons-licensed photos. These are images photographers have decided to share for free. Just make sure to attribute them!
What should my signature goal be?
It would be great if every petition got 1 million signatures, but when you're starting out, you want to set your sights on a reachable target. First, think about whom you're targeting. Is it a town official? Federal representative? The president? If you're trying to change something in your community, start with a few hundred signatures. If it's a national issue, you could make the goal several thousand. And, keep in mind, you can always increase your goal once you hit it!
How can I add a photo to my petition?
Images are very important for increasing the appeal of your petition, so we really encourage you to include a photo on your petition. After you create it, you can add a photo through the edit function. On the My PetitionSite page, click on the "manage" button next to the petition you want to add a photo to. Then, click the "edit petition" link. On this page, you should see a box highlighted in orange that allows you to search for an image on your desktop and add it to the petition. Select the image you want to use, and then click "upload." Then, on the main edit page, click the "save" button.
How do I get signatures on my petition?
We know that once you've reached out to your friends and family, coming up with new ways to get your issue out there can be tough. But there are lots of ways you can get your petition to interested people and make change. Promote it on discussion boards, send it to your friends, tell people about it. Popular petitions, at the discretion of The PetitionSite staff, may be promoted on the category pages, or even on the The PetitionSite home page. The more support you have, the greater the impact you will have! Feel free to get in touch if you would like some help with promotion, but keep in mind we get a lot of submissions, so please be patient.
How can I embed my petition on my website or friends' websites?
We want you to be able to share your petition everywhere! Once your petition is created, click on the "Get the Widget" button on the petition's main page. A window will pop up that will allow you to decide on the size, shape, and color of the widget you'd like to embed. Make all the changes you want, then copy the "embed code" provided and paste it where you'd like on your or your friend's site.
How do I share my petition with my friends?
You can do this from your petition directly, or from your petition's manage page. To get to your manage page, go to My PetitionSite, click the "petitions I started" tab, and click the "manage" button next to the petition you want to share. On this page, if your petition is live, you will see four buttons that allow you to share your petition with one click! You can share it on Facebook or Twitter, message your friends about it with our easy email tool, or grab a widget to embed on your website or blog.
Can I update the signers of the petition?
To respect the privacy of signers, we cannot give petition creators access to their contact information. But chances are, people will check back on your petition page to see what's going on. You can always update the summary text on your petition as circumstances change. If the issue you're petitioning has resolved, you can disable or close your petition and update the message that is displayed on closed petitions. Do this by going to My PetitionSite, selecting the "petitions I started" tab, clicking the "manage" button for the petition you want to close, and then selecting "Close Petition & Share the Results."
How do I edit or manage my petition?
Every petition you create has a dashboard, where you can edit your petition's content, download signature reports, and remove offensive signatures. The petitions you've created are listed on your My PetitionSite page, under the "petitions I started" heading. Find the title of the petition you'd like to manage, then click the "manage" button to go to that petition's dashboard.
How will my petition be submitted to the target?
It is your responsibility to deliver the petition to the target. The PetitionSite provides tools to export your signatures. When you are finished collecting signatures, go to My PetitionSite, select the "petitions I started" tab, click the "manage" button for the petition you want to close, and then select "Close Petition & Share the Results." Here you can download an excel spreadsheet or PDF of the signatures on your petition. If you have trouble, you can always email us.
1. Go to The PetitionSite.
2. Log in as the user who created the petition.
3. Go to your My PetitionSite page.
4. Make sure you are on the "petitions I started" tab.
5. Click on the button to the left of the petition in question. This button will be labeled differently depending on the status of your petition.
6. This takes you to your petition dashboard where you'll be able to generate a signature report to deliver to your target. Near the bottom, click on the link that says, "Deliver petition to target" or (if your petition is still open) "Close Petition & Share the Results."
7. Choose your preferred format for the signature report and click "Create Document."
8. The signature report will be generated by our system and will be available for pickup on the same page after a couple hours. You will receive an email when the report is ready for pickup.
My petition isn't relevant anymore. Can I delete it?
Every petition on our site is part of someone's activist record. Once people have signed your petition, it's our policy to keep a copy of it on the site so people can reference that text they signed. You can, however, close the petition to more signatures and leave a note about how the issue worked out. To do this, go to My PetitionSite, select the "petitions I started" tab, click the "manage" button for the petition you want to close, and then select "Close Petition & Share the Results." Under special circumstances, a petition can be totally removed. If you're worried about any consequences of having the petition on Care2, please email us.
My petition is about to expire. How do I keep it open?
To keep your petition open, simply change the petition end date. To do this, go to My PetitionSite, select the "petitions I started" tab, and click the "manage" button for the petition you want to extend. Then click the "edit petition" link, scroll to the bottom, and change the petition end date to a date in the future. Then click the "save" button.
What if I want to pay for help promoting my petition?
Care2 does not offer any paid options for petition promotion, but there are many other ways we can help you. If you do want to put your own money behind your campaign, you can pay for ads to appear on Facebook or other social media sites, although that is something you would have to pursue on your own and not through Care2.
TECHNICAL PROBLEMS / SUPPORT
What web browsers do you support?
Care2.com supports only the latest versions of following the following browsers: Firefox, IE, Safari and Chrome. If you are not using one of those browsers, you may have trouble experiencing the full functionality of the site. Make sure that your browser is updated to the latest version.
I keep getting strange characters in my petition. What is happening?
If you copied and pasted your message from Microsoft Word, there is likely extra embedded code which is keeping your message from being displayed properly. If you want to draft your petition first, try using a plain text document, such as TextEdit or Notepad, and make sure that you've selected a "make plain text" option.
I signed a petition, why can't I see my signature yet?
Rest assured -- your signature will be added! With such a large community, our servers have to process a lot of signatures, and sometimes they get a little behind. But don't worry, your signature is saved. You should get an email from us confirming that your signature was received the same day you sign.
The page isn't loading correctly, what's going on?
Is your browser up-to-date? It sounds simple, but this is the most common problem people run into. It's important to use the most recent version of your internet browser. Things change fast on the internet and many sites -- not just Care2 -- are optimized for the latest and most efficient programs. Care2 supports Firefox, IE, Safari and Chrome, so make sure you're using one of those browsers. Already updated? Let us know where you're seeing problems so we can investigate.
Seeing other funky behavior?
Care2.com supports only the latest versions of following the following browsers: Firefox, IE, Safari and Chrome. If you're not using one of those browsers, you may have trouble experiencing the full functionality of the site. Here are some things to double check if you're seeing anything strange:
- Make sure that your browser is updated to the latest version.
- Be sure that your browser's pop-up and script blockers allow Care2.com and ThePetitionsite.com.
- Try clearing your browser's cache and cookies.