Start Your Online Petition

Create an online petition in three easy steps

Starting a petition on Change.org is simple, free and takes just minutes of your time.

The best petitions happen when people like you ask themselves three key questions: What am I trying to change? Who can make that change possible? And Why is this important?

Step 1: Ask Yourself 3 Key Questions



Step 1: Ask Yourself 3 Key Questions

  • Set a goal: What do I want to change?
  • Choose a decision maker: Who can make this happen?
  • Tell the story: Why should others care?

    •  Set a goal: What do I want to change?

      Start by identifying a goal that is achievable and specific. It’s impossible for a decision maker to “End World Hunger,” but they can take concrete steps towards that goal, such as increasing funding for a specific project in a  specific country or community. Try to hone in on a tangible outcome or specific example that would indicate success. If you can answer this question succinctly, you have a strong goal.



      Photo credit Aaron Hansen

        EXAMPLE: Tackling A Large Problem With a Local Solution

        Although shark finning -- a brutal method of harvesting sharks -- happens around the globe, Aaron Hansen of Cape Town, South Africa noticed that a restaurant in his city was serving shark fin soup. Aaron started a petition calling on the restaurant, Mr. Chan, to take shark off the menu. After nearly 2,000 people signed, the restaurant confirmed that they no longer serve shark fin soup.



      Back to top



      Choose a decision maker: Who can make this happen?

      Direct your petition to the decision maker who has the most influence over, and ability to solve, the problem you want to fix. If your issue relates to parking in your city centre, your mayor or council is probably better than the President or Prime Minister. Better yet, find the head of your town’s transit department. It can also be helpful to include others who can influence your key target, such as Public Relations or Communications staff, when you're adding email addresses to your petition. Here are some tips for choosing the right decision maker:

        Pick a decision maker with power on the issue.
        That could be an elected official, a business or an individual.

        Ask: Who can help my issue the most?
        A local mayor or store owner may help more than the President or Prime Minister.  Consider whether a specific elected official could be encouraged to be a champion for your cause.

        Add multiple pressure points.
        Include others close to the decision maker who might be susceptible to pressure (company spokespeople, PR officials, etc.).




    Photo credit Jeff Sandquist
      EXAMPLE: Choosing the Right Decision Maker

      Tackling the issue of healthy school lunches is a tall order. But this petition chips away at the larger problem with a tangible change: asking the Los Angeles Unified School District's School Board to work with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to produce healthy, innovative menus. Petition creator Jessica Belsky found the email addresses of Los Angeles School Board members and added them as key decision makers.

    Back to top



    Tell the story: Why should others care?

    Here's where you make your case to others and convince them to sign your petition. Describe the problem and solution you’re trying to achieve, and why it’s important for people to take action. If you have any research or articles to support your position, be sure to include those, as well as any stories that connect the issue to real people.


    Photo credit: Jerome Hunt
      EXAMPLE: Tying the Issue To A Story

      Jerome Hunt wanted his home baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies, to record an "It Gets Better" video to show support for LGBT youth. Instead of focusing on complex background information, Jerome's  petition focused on his personal story, including the fact that he had been bullied as a gay teen, was inspired by "It Gets Better" videos  and that he was a diehard fan who regularly drove long hours to watch Phillies games.

    Now that you have these things, you’re ready to launch your petition!

    Back to top



    Step 2: Fill in the details of your petition

  • Categorise your petition
  • Edit your title
  • Upload a photo or video
  • Add your decision maker's contact information
  • Write a letter to your decision maker

    • Categorize your petition

      Once you’ve created your basic petition, you can edit more details. To edit your petition, click on the yellow bar at the top of your petition page, or click “Edit Petition” in the top right corner of your page.



      By selecting the cause area that your petition is most closely linked to, it will appear on that Cause page, making it easier for people interested in this issue to find your petition.

      Back to top



      Edit your title

      Your title is the first thing people see when they look at your petition. It should be short, informative and provocative so people will want to learn more. The title of your petition is automatically created by adding the name of your Target with the Goal of your petition. Use this formula to create a great title:


        Decision Maker + Goal = Your Petition Title

        The best titles are created by adding the name of your Decision Maker to the Goal of your petition. Be concise!

        Examples:
        Tell Delta: Union Busting Won't Fly
        Dolce & Gabbana: Stop the Killer Jeans
        Dallas Morning News: Same Sex-Marriage Announcements Belong in the Weddings Section



      Back to top



      Upload a picture or video

      "Show, don't tell." The old cliché is right: a picture is worth a thousand words and sometimes that exactly what you need to catch your readers’ attention and describe the problem at hand.

      Video can also be extremely powerful, whether it’s an eyewitness account, a personal testimonial, or a clips of a news story. Just keep in mind that the best videos are usually short (1-2 minutes tops), have good audio quality, and in some way shows the problem, not just talks about it.

      You can add a photo or video to your petition on the "Edit" page of your petition.



      Photo credit Andrew Miller
        EXAMPLE: Great Photo

        Animal advocacy group Hand4Paws could have picked a variety of images for their petition against proposed euthanization for stray animal  legislation in New Jersey, but they picked this appealing photo that is both eye-catching and emotional. Adding a photo your petition increases the chances that people will click, read and sign. 


      • Back to top



        Add your decision maker's contact information

        We will send the decision makers emails as supporters sign your petition. Here are some ways to find your decision maker's contact information:

        • Determine his or her full name.
        • Try Googling variations of their full name (ex: Daniel Smith, Danny Smith, Dan Smith) with the word “email” or the “@” symbol.

        • Find the email format used by a government office or company.
        • Plugging their name into that format and type it into Google (i.e. Daniel.Smith@council.gov.au or dsmith@corporation.com)

        • Try searching social media accounts and press releases.
        • For a corporation, look in the “Press” and “Investor Relations” sections of their site to find contact emails. Or check a press release: important contacts are often listed there.

      • Back to top



        Write a letter to your decision maker

      • Each time someone signs your petition, this is the letter that will be sent to convince your target to take action. Short, well-researched, polite letters can inspire action, while long messages or threats will get your petition ignored, if not blocked. Think of it this way: Your letter is the start of a conversation, or a negotiation, with your target. It should be thoughtful and to the point, while also clearly stating your requests. Here are some things to keep in mind when drafting your letter:

      Keep your letter short.
      Recipients are busy and are more likely to read a short letter.

      Be respectful and informative.
      Recipients and signers are more likely to respond positively to your petition if it is well researched and avoids an overly aggressive tone.

      Check your spelling and grammar.
      Even the smallest errors can lower the credibility of your petition letter. There’s a spell check built into our tool for this purpose. Avoid using ALL CAPS.

      For some great petition letter examples, go to the bottom of this page.


      Step 3: Stay connected by checking back often

    • Use an email address you check regularly
    • Post updates to your petition page
    • Stay tuned for additional tips and guides from Change.org

    • Use an email address you check regularly

      Creating an online petition isn't like signing up for a catalog or a mailing list. The decision maker may write you back directly, and you need to be able to read and respond quickly. When you're signing up for a Change.org account, make sure you use an email address you check regularly. If you've already created a Change.org account, you can double-check your email address by logging in, clicking "Settings" on the top right of the Change.org homepage, and selecting "Manage Email Preferences."

      Back to top



      Post updates to your petition page

      Setting up a Google News alert is free, quick and makes sure you'll hear about major news happening in your issue or cause. You can set up an alert to email you when the recipient of your petition is mentioned in the news or when the issue (example: "Binghamton School closing") gets covered. On your petition page, click the "Petition Updates" page to let your supporters know what's new. This will keep them informed and help create a record of milestones for your petition.

      Back to top



      Stay tuned for tips from Change.org
      Our team of organizers from around the world have put together some easy tips and guides for you that other petition creators have found helpful. A few days after you launch your petition, you'll receive a brief email from us suggesting potential next steps. You'll be able to unsubscribe from these if they're not helpful.

Back to top


Petition Letter Examples


Your petition letter is where you convince your petition target to take action. Short, well-researched letters can inspire action, while long, rambling threats will get your petition ignored, if not blocked. Check out these great letter examples, and then go write your own!



    Tell Bank of America: Don't foreclose on Vera Johnson's business
    Subject: Stop the foreclosure on Vera Johnson

    I just signed a petition calling on Bank of America to immediately stop the foreclosure on Vera Johnson's Seattle home and business, and to work with Johnson to modify her mortgage payments.

    For 17 months, your bank has repeatedly asked Ms. Johnson to submit the same documentation and paperwork, claiming you did not receive it. This behavior was independently verified by a Seattle Post reporter, here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nicolebrodeur/2015615416_nicole15m.html

    Ms. Johnson is a single mother of two and an outstanding member of the community. Her small business, Perennial Nursery, routinely hosts educational tours and classes and works closely with local nonprofits and schools in the area. I know that your bank wants to support businesses like Ms. Johnson's, and I'm calling on you to do the right thing.

    We're all frustrated by this housing crisis. It's going to take all us, working together, to find a way out of this mess. Let's start by giving homeowners like Johnson a fair deal.


Here's what you can learn from this great letter:

Be direct.
This letter starts by making the details clear: who is the target, who needs help and what exactly needs to happen.

Do your homework.
By referencing the newspaper article and their research, this letter shows evidence and support from reputable sources.

Make a connection.
By connecting Ms. Johnson’s work with Bank of America’s goal to support small businesses, it puts the onus on them to do the right thing.

End on a good note.
Using a positive tone can cut the defensiveness and make the target more willing to take action.

Back to top 


    Belmont University: Employees Shouldn’t Be Forced to Resign for Being Gay
    Subject: Belmont University should not be an epicenter of intolerance

    Dear President Fisher, Mr. Pillon, Vice President Lake, and Dean Johnston,

    I am deeply dismayed at the events going on at Belmont University over the past month, and the message of intolerance your University continues to send. First came word that the university was denying a request from a group of gay students to form an organization on campus. Dean Johnston, you even went so far as to suggest that gay Christians could be disruptive.

    Now comes word that a successful soccer coach, Lisa Howe, has been removed from her position because she chose to have a child with her same-sex partner. While statements from you, Mr. Pillon, suggest that Howe resigned, students on the women's soccer team are saying that Howe was put in the position of choosing to resign, or be fired, solely because she wanted to start a family.

    Both of these actions are offensive, intolerant, and completely contrary to the Christian values of loving your neighbor, showing respect for all, and welcoming all to the table. Being a religiously-affiliated school does not mean having to be a place where intolerance toward gays and lesbians thrives.

    The reputation of Belmont University has decreased in my eyes, and I'm saddened that while students at your school seem willing to love everyone and work with everyone without judgment, university officials are all too eager to create a climate of intolerance and discrimination.

    I urge you to allow gay students to meet on campus, and to enact a non-discrimination policy that protects gay employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation. These aren't radical requests. They come from the heart of someone who does not want to see "Christian" values become synonymous with bigotry.

    Thank you for your time.


Here's what you can learn from this great letter:

Tell them how you feel.
The letter sets the tone by listing the University’s actions and making it clear the community is paying attention and is not pleased.

Get specific.
While there are many examples, the letter focuses on one story that really embodies the need for change.

Share your values.
This letter references the shared values that members of the community have and want for everyone, not just a few.

Sum it up.
In a letter with many examples, this letter ends by summarising key points that support a clear call to action.


Back to top



Go To The Next Tip: Promote Your Petition