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Creating your petition

Creating a high-quality petition gives you the best chance of achieving the change you want. By including a memorable headline, a compelling image, carefully selecting your decision maker and using strong storytelling, you can create a petition that will grow support for your cause and win.
Build the best possible petition by following these guidelines:

Write your headline
Choose your Decision Maker
Tell your story
Choose an image or add a video

Write your headline
Your headline is your first opportunity to engage readers with your petition and make it clear what change you want.

Be brief

Your headline is the one thing that people will see on social media. So try to keep it to less than ten words, and make sure it makes sense on its own.

Example:

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Focus on the solution

Readers want to know specifically what change you want to make so they can decide whether to sign your petition. Your headline is the place to focus on the solution.

Example:

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Use a hook
Get people’s attention by making your headline emotional and urgent. Make it clear who is affected and why you care. If there are key dates or time pressure on your petition, include that information too.

Example:

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Choose your Decision Maker
By including an email address for the right decision makers, you can let them know about your petition and give readers confidence that your petition can win.

Pick people, not a group or organization
Unlike an organization, you can hold people directly accountable. Make your decision maker the person or people within an organization who are responsible for your solution or who you need to convince. For example “Mayor Jane Smith” rather than “Springfield City Government.”

Choose someone directly responsible
It’s better to target the people who can give you what you want rather than more senior, public figures. Someone directly responsible can make a decision and implement your solution faster. They are also more sensitive to public pressure because they aren’t used to it.

Include their email
Campoal will automatically notify your decision maker once your petition becomes public, so it’s important to include the right email address. To find it you can:

Use internet searches and check inside PDF documents like conference presentations or board papers.
Use the company email convention and try variations. For example to contact Tallah Smith you might try t.smith@company.com, tallah@company.com, smith@company.com, tallah.smith@company.com.
Call and ask!

Tell your story
A good movie grabs and holds our attention because it includes all the elements of successful storytelling. Petitions are no different.

Watch this video to learn how to tell a great story and move your supporters to action:

Get Adobe Spark, a free tool from Adobe, to create meaningful graphics that you can share to gain support for your cause. Once you have created the video, you can upload it to a video sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo.

Describe your petition’s ”main characters”
Introduce the people in your story and tell us what is interesting about them. Characters drive the story forward through their actions, and we have empathy when they are actively seeking solutions.

Video Example: The characters in the video are Jordan and his mother Laura.

Goals and obstacles
Make it clear what your characters want for the future and the obstacles that stand in their way. We are interested in characters who strive to achieve something even though it is difficult for them.

Video Example: Jordan’s goal is to be a firefighter. The obstacle is the FDA blocking Right to Try legislation.

Stakes
What do we hope for in the story and what do we fear? The higher and more concrete the stakes, the more compelling the story, so make it clear what happens if you win and what happens if you lose.

Video Example: If Laura loses, Jordan’s life may be shorter and thousands of patients could miss out treatments. If she wins Jordan’s life could be better and thousands of patients would get treatments.

Choose an image or add a video
Along with your headline, your image or video will be the first thing that readers see. Your image or video is also the image that will be seen when people share your petition on social media.

Show emotion
A great photo captures the emotion of your petition and tells a story in an instant. Photos of people or animals work well.

Add a video
Free video creation tools like Adobe Spark now allow you to make videos with ease. Adobe Spark walks you through how to tell your campaign story, edits your video, and then gives you everything you need to distribute it. Give it a try, then upload your video a video sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo. Once this has been uploaded to one of these platforms, you can also grab the video’s sharing link and use this to upload the video to your petition.

A bigger image is better
Try to upload photos that are 1600 x 900 pixels or larger so they look good on all screen sizes.

Look for photos online
The best photo is one that you own. But if you don’t have a photo, you can search sites like Flickr or Google Images. Use the advanced search options to find large size images that the creator has licensed for reuse.

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