CARE2 PETITIONS amazing things happen START A PETITION

Checklist: The Top 10 Elements of a Successful Petition

By now, we’ve identified our cause, developed a clear target for our petition and worked to craft the strongest message possible. Now it’s time to fine-tune the details before we go live.

Care2 Petitions’ easy-to-use petition tool guides you through the steps to building a strong message. As you fill in all the details, refer to this checklist before you publish to make sure that you hit the ground running!

The top 10 elements you need to write a successful petitions are:

▢ 1. Does your petition have a strong headline?

Write three to five possible titles and practice saying them out loud to see which one resonates best. Shoot for titles that are less than 70 characters in length.

add visual appeal to your petition with photos

▢ 2. Does your petition have eye-catching visuals?

Remember, a picture can communicate a message in ways that words cannot.

▢ 3. Does your petition body have a clear opening statement?

If you only have 30 seconds to convince someone about the importance of your cause, what do you say? In a sentence or two, tell your future supporters why your position is the right one and also that help is needed!

Lacey Kohlmoos, Online Organizing Strategist, Care2 Petitions
Lacey Kohlmoos,
Online Organizing Strategist

“A successful petition is about 70 percent content and 30 percent promotion. The best way to make sure your petition rises to the top is to grab people’s attention with good content.”

▢ 4. Have you confronted the opposing views?

Don’t shy away from your opponents’ views. Acknowledge the other viewpoint and use that information and honesty to explain why your petition addresses the greatest good for all involved.

▢ 5. Have you made your petition summary as complete as possible?

Ideally, you have two to three paragraphs of text, including:

  • An introduction paragraph that states why your solution is the best option.
  • One or two supporting paragraphs that include research, quotes and a list of other organizations already in support.
  • A closing paragraph that reiterates that your solution is the best option.

▢ 6. Is your petition written in an active voice with clear language?

We strive to stir action in our targets and our supporters. Now is not the time to speak passively — NOW is the time for simple and direct communication! Make sure your writing actively addresses the issue at hand and what someone can do to change it.

Aaron Viles, Senior Grassroots Organizer, Care2 Petitions
Aaron Viles,
Senior Grassroots Organizer

“Remember, this is the language you’ll be presenting to the target—make sure to use a reasonable, thoughtful tone and succinctly state your ask.”

▢ 7. Have you proofread your statements?

Nothing runs the train off the tracks quicker than sloppy writing and editing. Is all your information accurate? Don’t give your opponents a reason to discredit your entire cause — don’t sacrifice facts in order to exaggerate your call-to-action.

▢ 8. Have you narrowed your targets?

Make sure your targets for the petition are clearly defined, and that you’ve identified who will stand in support.

▢ 9. Is your petition easy on the eyes?

Today, people are all too apt to take a look at a big chunk of words and gloss right over it. “TL; DR” (too long; didn’t read) is a common response these days.

Keep it short and sweet! This not only helps you to hone your message, it encourages people to read your petition. Start by writing a rough draft and then breaking up paragraph text by using bullet points.

▢ 10. Is your petition optimized for search engines?

Will someone searching online about your cause find your petition? Incorporate key words, but don’t go verbally overboard.

Aaron Viles, Senior Grassroots Organizer, Care2 Petitions
Aaron Viles,
Senior Grassroots Organizer

“Make sure to use the standard descriptive language in the title and body of the petition description. Spell out agency acronyms, include the full title of the target and the complete description of the issue.”

Always remember that our staff at Care2 reviews your petitions every day! We work hard to promote the issues that matter most to you and offer tools and tips to help you get the word out.

How do we choose which causes to push forward? See Julie's advice below:

Julie Mastrine, Social Media Manager, Care2 Petitions
Julie Mastrine,
Activism Marketing and
Social Media Manager

“If your petition is well-researched and includes a strong solution to a clearly defined and outlined problem and could reasonably be implemented by the petition target, your petition can be selected for promotion on our website.”

Of course, you don’t have to wait for us to approach you! We always encourage petition authors to reach out to us to ask for help!

Are there other groups willing to help you as well? Read on for part 6 of our series, outlining the best ways to partner with groups and organizations to continue to propel your cause toward recognition and resolution!