If you feel strongly about a topic and are determined to find a solution it is likely that a lot of Europeans share your point of view. The only thing that needs to be done is to connect you all and deliver your voice to the person that can make things change. Setting up a campaign is not really that hard.
Setting the goal
What needs to change and how? What is your objective?
Figuring out an attractive title
The title should be short and specific. Intriguing people is the trick, but you should also have a clear title that communicates the essence of the campaign. You can for example, communicate the urgency or keep focused on a solution: the important thing is to grab attention and make an emotional connection to your cause.
Identifying the person or institution that can make things change
You need someone who can actually make the decision or take the action you are calling for. Make sure to do some research and find the most powerful person or institution with a mandate to make a call or start a process without asking for permission.
Writing a great petition text
The petition text is your chance to convince people to sign it so make an effort in thoroughly but clearly describing the problem – avoid long introductions, get straight to the point and point out the crisis, the urgency.
Then, identify a solution and explain why and how public pressure will help in achieving change. You should support your solution with research and other relevant information, and build a clear link between the solution and the outcomes you are expecting – you can use ‘so that’ chains to do that. Pay attention to detail and also to the language you are choosing when writing – if you want to incite action you need to speak directly, simply and actively the issue and the solution you are presenting.
Making it visual
Including the right image can make a great difference. With the right visual choice, you enable the readers of your petition text to connect more strongly to the cause, you can capture people’s attention and encourage them to act. When choosing pictures try to highlight the essence of the cause, emphasize the extent of the problem and/or reflect on the campaign's goals. Make a selection of one to three images that you feel capture the essence of your cause the most and make sure their format is 1200x630 pixels.
Sharing it - by email
The easiest and most effective way to attract the first wave of signatures to your campaign is to let people on your mailing list know about it. The email can contain some more information about the cause and why it is important to sign your petition. Include a personal message on why it is important to sign your petition and a link to where they can sign. Get your contacts to forward the message to their own contact lists and include a direct and clear call for sharing the campaign. After you send the first email it is smart to also send a thank you email to those who signed your petition and again include an invitation to actively participate in the cause by sharing the it and promoting it.
Sharing it - in social media
You definitely should not underestimate the power of social media. Constant sharing and tweeting is a way for your campaign to always have a presence. Include a personal message and an invitation to sign whilst sharing the link to the petition site.
Be sure to create a buzz – so make your posts ‘public’ so the information on your campaign can be seen by as much people as possible, pick a good hashtag or use a hashtag of a related issue to generate visibility. Add images and videos.
And most of all – stay focused. Make sure you promote it regularly, post updates and stay in touch with your supporters.
Taking a step forward
After you covered the email contacts and social media turn your attention to other online spaces where you can find support. Themed chatrooms and forums usually host like-minded people that you can invite to support the petition by signing and promoting it. It is important to find other people that are passionate about the cause as you are and reaching out to them even though you don’t know them (yet) in person – generating a strong support system can be crucial.
Don’t just stay virtual
It is smart not to limit your promotion to the virtual world. Talk about it to people in your life and encourage them to spread the word. Explaining the importance of a cause is sometimes easier done in person when you can open a dialogue and exchange opinions.
Follow your campaign, update the content and send out updates. Ask your supporters for feedback and try to perfect your title, text and visual content as you go to achieve a maximum impact.