Why DON T we petition

Over the years the team at 38 Degrees have helped a lot of people run, and win, their campaigns. From saving local libraries from cuts through to changing national policy on big is

Why DON T we petition

Over the years the team at 38 Degrees have helped a lot of people run, and win, their campaigns. From saving local libraries from cuts through to changing national policy on big issues of the day. All of these campaigns started with someone sitting at home on their computer and launching a campaign on the Campaigns by You website.

This page pulls together a lot of useful tips that weve learnt from how to write your petition through to how to spread the word and hopefully win. We hope you find it useful!

When youre ready, click here to start your campaign today:

Start a petition

If youre stuck with something on your campaign,
you can find answers on our help page here:

Frequently Asked Questions

Start your campaign

Set a goal and find your decision maker

Set a goal: Your first step is to think of a goal that is achievable and specific. Rather than calling on the government to Stop Climate Change, pick a concrete outcome that would help achieve that goal  introducing a carbon tax, for example, or banning the import of oil from tar sands.

Choose a decision maker: Find out who has the most power to deliver the changes youre asking for and address your petition to them. Is it your local council, or maybe you need a change in policy from a government minister? Its a good idea to be as specific as you can  this holds your decision maker accountable and makes it harder for them to shift responsibility onto others.

Writing your petition

Petition Title: Your title is the first thing people will see, so make it short, specific and to the point  that way, theyre more likely to want to find out more about your petition. If your petition focuses on a particular place, include that in the title too  e.g. Keep our London libraries open

Whom are you petitioning?This should be the target of the petition, not who youd like to sign it.Who has the power to make the changes youre petitioning for? Is it an MP or your local council? Is it a minister, a company CEO, the Mayor etc.?Try to chose only one person if possible  petitions that are addressed to governments or all MPs tend to be less successful. Equally, the Prime Minister probably isnt the best choice  he receives a lot of petitions!

What do you want them to do?This is what your petition is asking for  i.e. Please dont close down Southendlibrary. or Put solar panels on allschools in Glasgow.Again, try to keep this short  you just want a few lines to get across your key demands. There is more space below to explain why its important.

TIP!Keep the ask of your petition to just one thing. Dont call for everything at once, pick the one thing that would make a difference now.

Why is it important? This is where you make your case for why other people should be signing your petition. Describe the problem, why it matters and what you want to do about it. Its often really effective to include a personal story too  have you or someone you know been directly affected by what youre campaigning about? If you can include links to articles or research about your issue, all the better.

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Come up with a plan!

Campaign planner: Weve created a tool that lets you plan out your campaign. It helps you think about what might influence your decision maker, what key dates and moments are in the campaign, and what tactics could help you win. Then it sends you an email with your personalised plan so you can refer to it throughout the campaign. Use the button below to make your plan:

Make a plan

Share your petition

Social media: Facebook and Twitter are great places to spread the word about your petition  for every person that shares your campaign, around 100 others on average will see it. Multiply that even by a few hundred and thats a lot of people reading your petition. Whats great is that Facebook and Twitter also make it really easy for people who come across your petition to share it on  this can really help campaigns spread and grow rapidly. Click here and watch the second video tutorial on this page for more tips on using social well.

Emailing friends and family: Email is a good way to reach people who might not use Facebook or Twitter regularly. Dont be afraid to make your email personal and show how much you care about the campaign  people are more likely to take a look at your petition if they know it means a lot to you. Click here and watch the third video tutorial on this page for more tips on how to write a great campaign email.

Get your supporters involved

Getting your supporters sharing your petition through Facebook, Twitter and email is key to spreading the word about your campaign and growing your petition. Ask them to share and explain that they can really make a difference to the campaign by doing so. Remember, the chances are that a lot of the people whove signed your petition will care about the issue as much as you do  so theyll be just as motivated to help make the campaign a success.

TIP!You can send everyone thats signed your petition an email through the Campaigns by You website.

Usecampaign events and milestones: Have you just reached 5,000 signatures? Or maybe your issue got some important press attention? Significant events in your campaign are a great opportunity to revitalise your supporters. Drop them an email letting them know whats happening and asking them to build on this momentum by sharing the petition again.

Beyond the internet

Getting publicity: Local media coverage can give your campaign a real boost. If your petition is about a local issue, email or call up the local newspapers to ask if they want to write an article about your campaign. Be sure to include details of where people can get more information and sign the petition. Click here and watch the fifth video tutorial on this page for more tips on working with the media to promote your campaign.

TIP! Weve pulled together a press release builder that will help you find your local paper, and write a press release to send to them. It makes writing to papers really easy  and takes about 5 minutes to do! Click here to get started.

Get signatures on the streets: You dont have to just limit yourself to growing your petition online. There are plenty of opportunities to gather signatures offline  you could take a copy of your petition to work or go door-to-door around your neighbourhood. This has the added bonus of being able to reach people who might not use or have access to the internet.

TIP!You can download petition sign up sheetsthrough the Campaigns by You website.

Organising events: Publicity events are a great way to get attention for your campaign. You could stage a march or get in touch with a local venue about running a publicity gig. The possibilities really are endless  let your creativity run wild! Click here and watch the fourth video tutorial on this page for more tips on running a great campaign event.


Planning your petition hand-in

When is the right moment? Its often tricky to know when its the right time to deliver your petition. Sometimes this decision is made for you  there might be a key deadline around your issue coming up for example. Otherwise, look out for opportunities when handing in your petition might have maximum impact  if your issue is getting a lot of media coverage for example. Remember, you dont only get one chance to deliver your petition  you can keeping handing it in as your campaign grows.

In person vs. by email: Its always an option to deliver your petition by email or post, but if possible its great if you can deliver your petition in person. This is because you can use the hand-in event to help create publicity and maximise the impact of your petition. It also gives you a great opportunity to speak to your decision maker in person. The more people there the better, so invite your supporters to come along. And if youre doing your hand-in in a public place, a publicity stunt is often a great way to raise awareness about your campaign.

Contacting your decision maker

Be persistent: You might want to make first contact by email, but if you dont hear back within a couple of days dont be afraid to chase them up on the phone. If you dont get an answer, keep trying until you do  dont let your campaign go to waste because your decision maker missed your call. Be persistent, but dont go over the top  remember you want your conversation to start on the right foot!

What to say: Clearly and concisely explain your concerns, tell them about your petition and set out what changes you would like them to make. If youre planning to deliver your petition in person, let them know when youll be coming to do the hand-in and ask if they can be there to receive your petition and discuss it with you. Remember, always be polite  dont give them any excuses to ignore you.

Next steps for your campaign

Follow up with your decision maker: If you get a firm response from your decision maker the first time you speak to them, try to make sure youve got it down in writing. If theyve agreed to make the changes youre asking for, thats great  let everyone know about your success, but dont take your foot off the gas just yet! Make sure you agree on a specific timeline and follow them up regularly to check that progress is being made. Its possible your decision maker wont give you an immediate response the first time you speak to them, so dont let them off the hook  keep following up until they give you a definite answer.

Dont give up: Your decision maker might not give you the response you want to hear, but dont give up. A refusal to make the changes youre asking for doesnt have to be the end of a campaign. In fact, bad news can often give a campaign a real boost. Go back to your supporters, tell them whats happened and ask them to help you keep growing your petition until your decision maker has no choice but to deliver the changes youre asking for.

Get your supporters to reach out: If your decision maker is dragging their heels on responding to you, or doing the right thing, why not email your campaign supporters and ask them to write to the decision maker too. Hearing from lots more people could tip them into doing the right thing.

TIP! Give your supporters a template email to send:If you ask your supporters to email the decision maker it, you can make it easier for them by including a template email they can copy and paste. And dont forget to tell them what email address to use!

When you win, spread the word!Remember to write back to everyone who signed the petition to let them know the great news. Perhaps you could even offer to help other campaigners around the country and share tips on how you won your campaign?

Everycampaign that people win on Campaigns by You encourages more people to take the plunge and start their own campaign. Step by step were making the UK a fairer, more democratic, more equal and environmentally friendly place to live.

Why notstart your campaign now?

Start your campaign

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