How an Online Petition Works

Make change with an online petition

A petition is a time-tested way to make change. At its simplest, it's a clear request to a decision maker, signed by many supporters. With Change.org's powerful online petition tool, you have power to connect with more people -- and make more change -- than ever before. Here's how:

Why Online Petitions Work

Think of it this way: What if your company received thousands of emails from valued customers asking you to use a different supplier for your parts? What if you started to receive emails from each of your neighbors asking you to stop playing loud music at night? How quickly would you act?

That’s the unique thing about creating an online petition on Change.org. Governments, companies and individuals value their reputations and feel accountable to their neighbors, constituents and customers. When hundreds or even thousands of people raise their voices about an issue they care about, the message is very hard to ignore.

Online Petition Successes on Change.org

Petitions created on Change.org have resulted in victories on many different issues:


What Successful Petitions Have In Common

Our team at Change.org has studied hundreds of winning petitions. We've found that the most successful petitions share some common elements:

  • The goal is compelling and achievable.
    Successful petitions ask for something very specific, that a decision maker can change. They usually propose a sensible solution to a problem. If you can't summarize the "ask" of your petition in one clear and concise sentence, it's probably too broad. (Example: Instead of a petition titled "I Demand A More Responsive Government in Chicago," focus your petition to something like this: "Fix The Potholes On 14th Street.") 

    Learn How To Start Your Online Petition.

    The petition is delivered directly to the decision maker.
    Many online petition tools allow you to collect signatures online, but require you to deliver the signatures to your decision maker offline when you’re finished. Because email is so direct and effective, when you type in the email address of your recipient, Change.org's tool will notify your decisionmaker about the petition and keep them updated through the process! Many petition creators download their list of signers and petition comments for in-person deliveries as well. 

    Learn How To Talk To Your Decision Maker.

    Social media tools are used to get the word out and recruit supporters.
    Facebook, Twitter, and online communities make it easy to gain support for your petition without having to go door to door. Successful petition creators take advantage of the power of the Internet to promote their campaigns. After you start a petition on Change.org, we’ll walk you through exactly how to use these tools to effectively spread the word about your campaign.

    Learn How To Promote Your Petition.

    The online petition is followed up by offline action.
    Hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of signatures are a great way to get your decision maker to take notice, but then what? If your petition doesn't succeed overnight, phone calls, press conferences and meetings can help keep your issue front and center.

    Learn How To Get The Story To Media.

    Ready to get started? Great! Check out our step-by-step petition template, and start a petition today!