Do you also want Start or support online petitions? Then that's just great! Because with the signature lists you can get involved for or against political measures and carry other people along. Online petitions are basically loud, digital demonstrations against problems and abuses, with which you can campaign for the expansion of wind power or a more radical climate policy, for example.
In this article, you will learn how this works, which platforms there are for online petitions and how you can 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 basically referred to as a written submission and request or complaint by an individual or group to the relevant bodies and to the people's representation.₁ A Online petition respectively ePetition simply extends this to include the digital component, which ultimately brings enormous additional benefits for achieving the goal. The concept of petition is also enshrined in the Basic Law.
Everyone shall have the right, individually or jointly with others, to address written requests or complaints to the competent bodies and to the people's representative body.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 addressed to the Bundestag under Article 17.
Tip: Are you still looking for an issue you want to get involved with by collecting signatures? Then let yourself be inspired, for example, in the article about the Environmental problems of our time inspire.
The advantages of online petitions
Collect a few signatures? Does it really make a difference? Here are a few benefits of online petitions that you may have underestimated:
- Rapid dissemination: On the digital level, you can theoretically get millions of people excited about your project within a very short time - offline, that's basically not possible at all.
- Contact option: Usually, as a signer of an online petition, you also provide your email address. As a petition starter, you benefit from the fact that your supporter network is constantly growing and that you can also ask for support for follow-up actions and share news with your supporters.
- Clarification: Signature or not, everyone who comes into contact with your petition will be made aware of the issue raised 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 is why everyone can find a grievance that they would like to improve and can improve from the bottom of their heart. Of course, this advantage applies to offline as well as online petitions.
- Create positive change: The purpose of an online petition is to point out problems and grievances and their solution. If you follow the tips from this article, you will make the world a little bit better with your petition.
Examples of successful online petitions
Those who still can't really believe that petitions really create change need examples. Examples of how much support you can get in a short 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 the greenhouse.
- 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 town of Nakhodka received nearly 1.6 million signatures. Anastasia Ivanova had started the online petition and even reached Hollywood stars like Leonardo DiCaprio with it.
- Binding rules for lobby transparency: As a result of more than 100,000 signatures collected, the European Parliament established 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 (as of November 29, 2019) found more than 631,000 supporters. He has already made it to the German Chancellor, but he will not rest until single-use plastic is completely banned in Germany.
I could go on for hours with these success stories. However, all the platforms that I will mention in this article also show their successful online petitions separately. There you can take a look at them at your leisure.
Statistics from online petitions
It is not so easy to find really meaningful statistics on petitions. But I have listed some of them here:
- The Change.org petition platform says it is 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. In total, 12,027 active petitions were signed at change.org in 2018.₂
- On the Campact platform, 2,210,742 million people argue for progressive politics.₃
Tip: At Statistics Blog for Environment and Sustainability you will find many more facts and figures. For example Plastic waste statistics or Vegan diet figures.
What are the major platforms for petitions?
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 need to rely on proven platforms that are home to many 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 the demand for a plastic ban in eastern Indonesia to stopping the expansion of animal testing laboratories, everything is possible - locally, nationally and globally.
Here you can start a petition at Change.org
OpenPetition is also a great platform for online petitions to collect digital signatures for your cause. From the preservation of the youth club, to the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, everything is included. According to its own data, more than 6 million people use the platform to enforce digital democracy.₄
Here you can start a petition at OpenPetition
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.
Here you can start a petition at the German Bundestag
Campact / WeAct
According to its own information, Campact is a citizens' movement with which over 2 million people fight 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.
Here you can start a petition at Campact
On this platform, you can contact the European Parliament directly and exercise your right to petition. Thus, the EU offers you the chance to directly participate in political decisions or to demand adjustments.
Here you can start a petition at the European Parliament
Notice: There are, of course, many other platforms - for example, also 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 very well conclude this post without giving you a few more valuable tips on how to successfully run 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 concern should have a current reference - then your demand will spread even faster.
2. platform selection
In principle, you are in good hands with the major platforms. But if you want to start an online petition for the rainforest, for example, specific networks like Rainforest.org even greater chances of success.
3. Fact check the petition
Simple assertions will not be signed. You must back up your call for signatures with honest and verified statistics and facts. Only then can you fully convince others of your intention and carry them along.
4. clean formulation
In the end, it's the wording that counts. Choose a snappy title and a challenging goal and let the viewers of the petition feel why they can make the world a better place with a signature.
5. pictures and videos
Do you have reinforcing 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 beginning 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 supporters with a strong reach
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 have an even more effective multiplier for your online petition.
9. carry out media-strong handover
The addressees of petitions are usually politicians - and they have a lot to do. By filming the delivery and publishing pictures and videos, you 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 needed. That's why you need to keep your supporters up to date and publish the petition again and again. You should also encourage sharing on social media again and again.
Online petitions - it pays to start and support!
Today, there is hardly a more effective tool for collectively demanding and implementing political change than well-planned and implemented online petitions. Even if the daily news gives a different picture: the world is just becoming a better place - and that's mainly because people are opening their mouths and fighting for the good.
Do you have questions, tips, or your own experiences with online petitions that you'd like to share? Then feel free to leave me a comment below this post.
PS.: Please also have a look at my article on the subject of Greenwashing an. Because 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 Nov. 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].