Need ideas for running and winning your campaign? We can help! :)
See below for some useful tips on how to structure your campaign strategy - and help make the world a better place for LGBT people!
Step 1: Starting your petition
Define a concrete, clear goal.
Your petition should have an achievable and specific goal. Rather than calling on the government to “stop transphobia”, pick a concrete outcome that would help achieve that goal – e.g. allowing trans people to change their legal gender.
Pick a target.
Find out who has the power to deliver the changes you’re asking for and address your petition to them. It's always good to know if they're on your side, against you, or somewhere in-between.
Identify your allies.
Who can help you get to your goal? It's always good to find out if there are people already working on the issue - by working together, you can make your campaign even more powerful!
Consider what could go wrong.
Online petitions are a powerful tool to trigger change, but they can also generate backlash and harm the very people you are trying to help. Consider potential negative consequences of your petition. If you're starting a petition in a country different from your own, make sure to check with local groups before moving it forward.
Step 2: Writing your petition
Your petition title is the first thing people will see, so you need to catch their eye. Make it short, clear and very specific. If your petition focuses on a particular place, include that in the title too – e.g. “Keep the LGBT centre in Rio open”.
"Whom are you petitioning?".
This should be the target of the petition, not who you’d like to sign it. Who has the power to make the changes you’re asking for? Make it as specific as possible: instead of saying "the government", say "the Mayor", or "the Minister of Health", etc. Try to choose only one target.
"What do you want them to do?".
What are you asking for? Keep it short – you should get your key demand across in a line or two. Try to use short sentences, and ask for just one thing. You can explain why this is important in the sections below.
"Why is this important?".
This is where you make your case for why other people should sign your petition. Describe the crisis, why it matters and the amazing outcome that we could achieve if we all take action.
- Make it urgent. Urgency is essential to motivate action. If there are key dates or a deadline, mention it.
- Don’t open with background information – jump straight into the crisis and what they can do.
- Make it accessible. Make sure anyone can understand it. Don’t use wonky terms or insider language.
- Use specifics rather than generalities to make your petition vivid and memorable. It is detail that brings a story to life – e.g. “Nima and Ashkan were locked in a tiny cell” vs. “Nima and Ashkan were in jail”.
- Make it personal. Have you or someone you know been directly affected by what you’re campaigning about? Tell their story, and invite the audience into it.
Keep pronouns in mind.
Be conscious of preferred pronouns. Make sure you're using the pronouns that the person or people you are describing feel most comfortable with.
Step 3: Growing your petition
Share on social media.
Facebook and Twitter are great places to get people to see your petition. Make sure you're using short and catch language for your social media shares - also try to make the language urgent.
Email friends and family.
Reach out to your friends and family, and let them know why this campaign matters to you. Don’t be afraid to make it personal!
Engage your supporters.
You can reach out to the people that signed your petition when needed. Ask them to share and explain that they can really make a difference to the campaign. Use campaign events and milestones to engage your supporters again: for example, your petition reached 500 signatures or your issue got some media attention. Send your supporters an email and let them know!
Engage the media.
Getting some media attention can really boost your petition. If you're campaigning on a local issue, reach out to your local newspaper to let them know.
Step 4: Taking it to the real world
Find a key moment.
Look for those opportunities when delivering your signatures will have the most impact. Is there a big deadline coming up? Is there a moment where a delivery could generate a lot of media attention? Remember that delivering your signatures is not something you can only do once - you can keeping doing it as your campaign grows.
Find the best way to deliver.
Should you deliver your signatures in person, via email, via post? Delivering in person always generates more impact - you can tell the media, you can take photos to inspire more people to sign, etc. It's also a good way to meet your target in person. If you deliver your signatures in person, make sure to let your supporters know!
Engage with your decision maker.
Once you launch your petition, you might want to drop your decision maker an email and let them know. Explain your concerns and what you're calling for. Ask them if they'd be willing to meet you to discuss. If they don't respond, don't give up - not getting a response is often a good reason to keep pushing your campaign out!
Step 5: Following up
Follow up with your decision maker.
Whatever you discuss with your decision maker, put it in writing. If they have agreed to what you're proposing, define a timeline and make sure you're checking in on their progress.
Whatever happens, spread the word!
Remember to write back to the people that signed your petition to let them know what's going on!