Would you also like Start or support online petitions? Then that's just great! Because you can use the signature lists to campaign for or against political measures and get other people involved. Online petitions are basically loud, digital demonstrations against problems and grievances, which you can use to campaign for the expansion of wind power or a more radical climate policy, for example.
In this article, you will find out how this works, which platforms are available for online petitions and how to start successful petitions. Let's go!
Here is another short Table of contents for you:
- Closing words
What are online petitions?
In the business lexicon Petitions is basically a written submission and request or complaint by an individual or a group to the competent authorities and to the people's representatives.₁ A Online petition respectively ePetition simply adds the digital component, which ultimately brings enormous additional benefits for achieving the goal. The concept of a petition is also enshrined in the Basic Law.
Everyone has the right to address requests or complaints in writing to the competent authorities and to the people's representatives, either individually or jointly with others.Article 17 in the German Basic Law
Under Article 45c (1) of the Basic Law, the Bundestag also appoints a Petitions Committee, which is responsible for dealing with petitions and complaints submitted to the Bundestag under Article 17.
Tip: Are you still looking for an issue that you would like to get involved in by collecting signatures? Then take a look at the article on the Environmental problems of our time inspire.
The advantages of online petitions
Collect a few signatures? Does it really do any good? Here are a few benefits of online petitions that you may have underestimated:
- Rapid dissemination: On the digital level, you can theoretically inspire millions of people for your project within a very short time - offline, this is basically not possible at all.
- Contact possibility: As a signatory to an online petition, you usually also provide your e-mail address. As a petition starter, you benefit from the fact that your network of supporters is constantly growing and you can also ask for support for follow-up campaigns and share news with your supporters.
- Clarification: Whether you sign it or not, everyone who comes into contact with your petition will be sensitized to the problem in our society.
- Anyone can: Whether you start the petition alone or as an organization - if you raise an issue that is a thorn in the side of many people, you will quickly find support.
- Variety of topics: Whether climate change, Water shortage or air pollution - The list of man-made problems is endless. And that's why everyone can find a grievance that they want to improve and can improve from the heart. This advantage naturally applies to both offline and online petitions.
- Create positive change: The purpose of an online petition is to draw attention to problems and grievances and their solution. If you follow the tips in this article, you will make the world a little bit better with your petition.
Examples of successful online petitions
Anyone who still can't really believe that petitions really create change needs examples. Examples of how much support you can get in a short space of time and what changes you can bring about:
- No bee poison sulfoxaflor in the fields: Almost 400,000 people successfully protested at Campact against bee poison in the fields. This bee killer may now only be used in greenhouses.
- The end of the "whale prison": A successful Change.org petition to save hundreds of orcas and belugas from cramped enclosures on Russia's Pacific coast in the city of Nakhodka has received almost 1.6 million signatures. Anastasia Ivanova launched the online petition and even reached Hollywood stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio.
- Binding rules for lobby transparency: As a result of more than 100,000 signatures collected, the European Parliament laid down binding rules for more lobby transparency.
- Our oceans are not a dumping ground - put an end to disposable packaging: This petition by actor Hannes Jaenicke and Deutsche Umwelthilfe has found more than 631,000 supporters (as of 29.11.2019). Although he has already made it to the Federal Chancellor, he will not rest on his laurels until single-use plastic is completely banned in Germany.
I could go on with the success stories for hours. However, all the platforms that I will mention in this article also show their successful online petitions separately. You can take a look at them there at your leisure.
Statistics from online petitions
It's not that easy to find really meaningful statistics on petitions. But I have listed a few for you here:
- The Change.org petition platform claims to be the "world's largest campaign platform" with 265 million users in 2018. In Germany alone, 6,002,997 people signed 2,334,412 successful online petitions. A total of 12,027 active petitions were signed on change.org in 2018.₂
- On the Campact platform, 2,210,742 million people are fighting for progressive politics.₃
Tip: At Statistics blog for the environment and sustainability you will find many more facts and figures. For example Plastic waste statistics or Figures on vegan nutrition.
What major petition platforms are there?
Of course, you can also start petitions for yourself on a small scale. But if you really want to change something in our politics as quickly as possible, you can rely on tried-and-tested platforms that are full of people who want to support like-minded people in their projects. The following petition platforms provide you with an ideal basis for a successful online petition.
Change.org is probably the largest campaign platform in the world - and the range of topics is correspondingly broad. From calling for a ban on plastic in eastern Indonesia to stopping the expansion of animal testing laboratories, everything is possible - locally, nationally and globally.
OpenPetition is also a great platform for online petitions to collect digital signatures to push for your cause. From preserving the youth club to shutting down nuclear power plants, everything is included. According to their own figures, more than 6 million people use the platform to assert digital democracy.₄
Yes, you can also directly influence decisions made or to be made by the German Bundestag by means of online petitions. So you can also actively shape German politics.
Campact / WeAct
According to its own information, Campact is a citizens' movement with over 2 million people fighting for progressive politics. The topics of the petitions are diverse and range from climate protection and animal welfare to trade policy, corporate lawsuits and diesel driving bans.
On this platform, you can contact the European Parliament directly and exercise your right to petition. The EU thus offers you the opportunity to participate directly in political decisions or to demand changes.
Notice: There are, of course, many other platforms - for example, topic-related networks such as Rainforest.orgwhere you can support promising online petitions to protect the rainforests.
Start online petitions - the 10 best tips
I can't finish this article without giving you a few valuable tips on how to successfully carry out an online petition. Here are 10 tips to help you collect as many signatures as possible for your cause:
1. petition reason
Of course, you should have a legitimate reason for starting your petition that is also close to the hearts of many others. Ideally, your cause should have a current relevance - then your demand will spread much faster.
2. platform selection
You are basically in good hands with the big platforms. However, if you want to start an online petition for the rainforest, for example, specific networks such as Rainforest.org even greater chances of success.
3. Fact check the petition
Simple assertions will not be signed. You must back up your request for signatures with honest and verified statistics and facts. Only then will you be able to fully convince others of your project and win them over.
4. clean formulation
In the end, it's the wording that counts. Choose a snappy title and an ambitious goal and let the viewers of the petition feel why they can make the world a better place by signing it.
5. pictures and videos
Do you have supporting image and video material for your online petition? Then use them. A video in which you can be seen and heard as a petition starter usually generates significantly more support.
6. timing of the online petition
Depending on your particular demand, the timing of your online petition can also be crucial. For example, a petition against artificially maintained ski resorts will find less support in summer than at the start of the winter season.
7. get the ball rolling
Use social media, email campaigns, or even local events to get more signatures even faster. Also dare to ask for help from organizations related to the issue.
8. find high-reach supporters
Winning over many small supporters takes a lot of time. If you manage to win over a high-reach or prominent person for your cause, you will have an even more effective multiplier for your online petition.
9. carry out a media-strong handover
The recipients of petitions are usually politicians - and they have a lot to do. By filming the handover and publishing pictures and videos, you can increase the pressure so that the petition is not simply forgotten in everyday office life.
10. continue to stay on the ball
Online petitions can take a long time - patience is required. That's why you need to keep your supporters up to date and keep republishing the petition. You should also keep encouraging people to share it on social media.
Online petitions - start and support them!
Today, there is hardly a more effective instrument for jointly demanding and implementing political change than well-planned and implemented online petitions. Even if the daily news paints a different picture: the world is becoming a better place - and that is mainly because people are speaking up and fighting for the good.
Do you have any questions, tips or your own experiences with online petitions that you would like to share? Then please leave me a comment below this post.
PS.: Please also have a look at my article on the subject of Greenwashing on. After all, this is also an issue against which online petitions are often launched.
₁ Dr. Eggert Winter: Petition, available at https://wirtschaftslexikon.gabler.de/definition/petition-42871. [29.11.2019].
₂ Change.org (2018): change.org association: Annual and Impact Report 2018, available at https://changeverein.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Jahres_Wirkungsbericht_2018_ONLINE.pdf. [29.11.2019].
₃ Campact e.V.: Transparency, available at https://www.campact.de/campact/ueber-campact/transparenz. [29.11.2019].
₄ openPetition gGmbH: ABOUT OPENPETITION, available at https://www.openpetition.de/content/about_us. [29.11.2019].