In this day and age, one of the most powerful tools we have is the World Wide Web. It provides us a wide range of information with just a few clicks of a button.
Another powerful tool in the current generation is the voice, conviction, and the drive for everyone to be a changemaker in their own ways. We do say that the only permanent thing in this world is change, so wanting to make a relevant and crucial change for the world supports this.
So if you combine the powerful tool of the Internet with the powerful desire to be a changemaker in many different ways, what can you do? Make your own petition website! A petition website is a type of petition found and signed online by anyone, or by a specified group of individuals.
What is an online petition?
A petition is generally a formal document addressed to a specific person, group, or entity made on behalf of a group. This usually requests for something to happen or a call to action to be taken about a certain situation.
Originally, petitions were printed documents that specific people or groups pass around, asking other people to sign in support of the cause stated. Although this is still a practice for some, the concept of an online petition is now more popular and preferred by many.
An online petition is the same as the usual petitions, the only difference is that this is published and shared on a petition website. Instead of the usual pen-and-paper version, the online petition is visited on a petition website and the supporter needs to fill out some fields such as name, age, and email address, all depending on the petitioners’ requirements.
One of the main reasons for the rapid increase in popularity of a petition website is the opportunity for an extensive reach. With the online petitions, petitioners and supporters can easily share the petition website without the limitations of distance and logistical resources.
A wider audience reach further strengthens the validity and authenticity of the petition website. Also, since some petitions require a certain number of signatures, a wider audience makes it easier to reach the goal in a shorter time.
How to make an online petition?
Now that we’ve discussed a petition website and the details of an online petition, let’s talk about how to make an online petition. There really isn’t one formula on how to make an online petition, it really depends on what change you wish to elicit. Different petition websites, create different petitions but the goal to achieve an act that affects a group stays the same.
Here are some general steps to create an online petition:
1. Research your topic of choice.
Before anything else, the core component of a petition is the cause you wish to put forward. Choose which cause or topic your petition website will focus on, and think about whether you want a local situation or a national one, and determine the extent your cause will reach. This is a staple detail on how to start a petition.
After choosing which cause you want to focus on, research is your next responsibility. Being able to create an online petition is easy but alongside it comes the responsibility to present credible and relevant information. A petition website based on facts, proven data, and relevant details guarantees a solid group of supporters for your cause.
The process of doing research shouldn’t be limited to online references and printed materials. Go above and beyond and conduct interviews with the necessary people involved as well. This creates a sense of familiarity with your petition website and increases the plausibility and credibility of the material.
2. Determine to whom your petition must be submitted and who can support your cause.
Different petitions have different people who can grant the request. Iit is not a one-man or woman job. So after you determine the focus of your petition website, the second step is to know who your online petition must be addressed to -- again, research is the key point here.
Doing this also gives you the chance to know what other requirements the specific person or group requires to accept a petition. Some groups require more than just the petition and the list of names who support the claim, sometimes officials and heads would require additional identification to determine the validity of the signatures.
Speaking of the supporters, again each online petition would require a set of supporters. Most petition websites accept signatures from everyone with little to no character determinants. This is still a valid petition because the valid supporters or signatures are determined by the petition’s scope and effect.
But in the event that your petition website is not open for a global audience, it is your job to determine which factors should be considered for a signature to be considered valid and acceptable. If this is the case, once you submit the petition you must include the characteristics of the signatories and their relevance to the cause.
3. Be straightforward with your statement of purpose.
The main point of your petition website is the goal. This is the action you are demanding through your petition, and this needs to be concise and straightforward. You will be reaching a large number of supporters for a petition, most of which will want a summary of the entire petition. A statement of purpose acts as such, a summary of the goals, objectives, and effects of the action you are demanding.
A good statement of purpose includes a specific and attainable solution for the situation you are petitioning for. It is advisable that once the supporters or officials read your petition, they immediately understand what you want to happen, and which situation needs to be addressed.
But being concise, clear, and definite does not mean that you won’t put into detail the full extent of the petition -- you must do this, so put your research into writing! Discussions and presentation of data can come after your goal is clearly defined. Choose which pieces of information are relevant to your cause, leaving some details out may lead to some of your supporters doubting the credibility of your petition.
Additionally, your extensive research will give you an insight into what other problems the situation has already addressed and how your current petition may reflect that.
4. Give your petition a name.
A petition website wouldn’t be complete without a name or title. There are different ways you can approach this. You can choose to be straightforward and formal, or be more creative and unique.
A few reminders when giving your petition a name:
- Make sure the title is easy to understand and read.
- Do not use unfamiliar terms in your title.
- Include a catchphrase that can retain your supporter’s attention
- Include a call to action
- Determine the audience
- Use action verbs to support your call to action
- Avoid making the title too long and complex
It may be hard to follow all the abovementioned reminders when writing your petition website and that’s okay! Just make sure that the point of your petition comes across, and the additional details will be available on your statement of purpose.
5. Craft your petition website.
We have to remember that an online petition is accessible on the web, which means your petition website must reflect the overall feel of your petition.
Before the supporter is directed into the online form for their signature, create a page on your website that will contain the details and ultimately catch their attention. This means including photos (high resolution photos are the best) that are related to the issue, or reflect the specific action you wish they support.
This is also a good place to clearly discuss the statement of purpose, and you call to action. Writing in a concise manner will encourage the supporters to read on, and understand the full petition. But with the petition website, one main point is to ensure that it is easy to navigate and access. Keep it simple!
6. Create the signature form.
The crucial point of your petition website is acquiring the actual signature of your supporters, and embedding a form right into your petition website will make it easier.
It is best to gather all the necessary details from every signatory. In the event that you need to contact the supporter to validate their identity make sure to clearly discuss that it will be used for the petition they have signed.
A word of caution -- be vigilant and careful about disclosing personal information about your supporters. The usual details released are: names, email addresses, and location. If more specific information is needed or is to be shared, it would be best to include a notice or terms and condition about which information will be shared.
7. Encourage your supporters to share the petition.
A wider reach creates bigger audience support for your petition especially if the promotion comes from the people who have willingly supported your cause. This then leads to more people knowing about the current situation, and the petition you are pushing for.
Sharing the petition website on your supporter’s social media accounts creates noise about the cause, and could potentially lead to more signatures for the petition website.