How to Write a Perfect Petition

During my time as an advocate I have written many petitions – it seems to be the easiest way to spark change. I have learned a few tips and tricks to writing the perfect petition once you have pinpointed your subject. Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.22.31 AM

Step 1: Check to make sure another petition with the same subject doesn’t already exist. I say this simply because there are so many issues we are fighting daily, it’s key to make sure we aren’t wasting time signing the same thing twice. I also think it’s fair to allow someone who has worked hard to create an already existing petition the right to that subject. If you are adamant about writing a petition on the same cause, please be mindful of others work and do not plagiarize.

Step 2: Make sure you know the recipients of your petition! It’s important to know “who” your petition is going to. Many petition sites allow you to enter an email address – so be sure to do some digging and have the correct contact information for that person or company.

Step 3: Gather credible up-to-date information. The key to a successful petition is having current information and research available to your signers. People like to make sure they are signing something they agree with, so providing as much material as possible will only work in your favor. Remember to cite sources with links and quotes.

Step 4: Make sure your petition letter is different from your lead-in. A common mistake I see in many petitions usually includes the writer forgetting to include a letter. I also see the writer copy and paste their “about this petition” information too. This is certainly not the way to reach your recipient. Keep in mind that many petition sites will actually send a copy of your letter to the email address you provided every single time someone signs the petition.

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Here is a letter portion of one of petitions at change.org

Step 5: Make sure your letter is polite, to the point and full of credible data. This is a very important step and you really want to make sure that your letter is hitting the points you feel are necessary. Imagine yourself reading the letter aloud to whoever may be receiving it. Personally, I make sure that my wording is not rude or aggressive so that I’m certain that my recipient will support the issue. Be polite, provide credible information (with sources) and make sure you are sticking to the key points.

Step 6: Provide your petition with an eye-catching video or image. You’ll find when someone shares your petition on social media sites that the image or video is usually the thing that will bring out the most attention. It’s a no-brainer to use an image pertaining to your subject. I try to keep my images and videos of “PG” rating as to not upset young advocates and parents. Also, it’s important to make sure you have permission to use the image or video in your petition, so make sure you are given full permission before publishing your content.

I hope these steps help you to make the best petitions possible. Change is possible if we work together and support one another. If you have further questions regarding this subject please feel free to email me: alewis@finsandfluke.org

Alex Lewis-Dorer

Alex Lewis-Dorer is a 27 year old activist. Having watched The Cove during its initial release and learning about the capture practices and the dangers of captivity, she felt compelled to stand up and voice her concerns to others. Since then she has dedicated her time and energy to working towards educating others about ocean conversation. In 2012 Alex joined forces with Wendy Brunot to have a lone killer whale named Shouka, moved to an alternate marine park to be with other orcas. Following the news of a planned Beluga Whale import, Alex hosted a protest in Atlanta In July 2012 together with Free the Atlanta 11 and GARP which attracted significant attention to the issues behind such an initiative. Alex has also played a large part in being a strong voice against Marineland, Canada, holding a demo at the facility in May 2014 in honor of Kiska, Canada’s last captive whale. She has dedicated much of her time to bringing attention to Marineland’s suffering animals. She also voices her concerns over many other captive marine faculties and lends her hand on campaigns regarding this issue. Alex’s love is not limited to cetaceans – she sees the beauty in all marine life. She is excited to be part of the movement that will end captivity for all marine mammals. Alex is also a proud team member for Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project.

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