Have you ever been disgruntled over an unfair regulation or practise in your community or country? Felt that there was nothing much you could do about it? Don't have the time or the resources to pursue your grievances? Well there's now an easier way of being heard, garnering support for your cause and initiating the change that you want.
Welcome to the era of internet petitions! It's been around for sometime now, and many folks in America and Europe have made good use of it. I'm not sure how well known this form of petitioning is in this part of the world. We could sure use more of this sort of advocacy to get our complacent third world bureaucrats off their cushy seats!
How it Works
A petition is posted on a website. Visitors to the website who read your petition and want to support it can add their email addresses and names. After enough signatures have been collected, the petition is then delivered to the subject of the petition via e-mail. There are several online petition sites, of these, the most well known and fastest growing is Change.org.
Change.org was started in 2006 by Ben Rattray and Mark Dimas, two former Stanford University classmates. The reach of this site however is global, they don't just solve problems in their own backyard. The following are some of their victories:
PayPal apologizes for celebrating upper caste pride in India
China frees acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei after landmark Change.org campaign
Toronto City Council bans sale of shark fins
Go to Change.org, click on "Start a Petition" and you are on your way to starting your own grassroots campaign!Here's how the template looks like:
How to create an effective petition
- Create a short and attention grabbing title.
- Your petition letter should be short and concise, describe the problem and your proposed solution. You can also include supporting documentation relevant to your petition.
- Images are powerful at conveying a message, find a suitable image or create your own.
- Videos also have great impact. Include one if you can.
- Publicise your petition, post it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, send out emails. Some offline promotion would be great too.
Don't worry that your petition will not be noticed. Change.org will take you through the steps of creating an effective online petition that gets results. Once you provide the email address of your target, each time a supporter signs your petition, an email is directly sent to that person. Imagine receiving thousands of protests emails, now that would be hard to ignore right?