Lobbying to promote or oppose a motion or a cause takes work. Some people opt for a physical protest, while others prefer to write their local leaders. However, another way to garner the attention of policymakers is to draft a petition and collect signatures, to prove that many people feel the way you do, and it would be in a leader's best interest to cater to your desires and needs. Here are some tips on how to draft a petition.
Write a brief introduction. Explain in one paragraph or even one sentence, if possible, the cause or issue you are supporting or opposing. Keep the language simple--simple enough so that anyone on the street will be able to understand it. For example: "There are not enough animal shelters in the city and animals are being put to death unnecessarily. We must fight to stop this!"
Explain the motions you want people to push policymakers to implement with regard to the cause or issue in question. People don't want to read about problems, they want solutions. For instance: "City Hall should build more animal shelters to ensure that animals have the chance to live and be adopted."
Give reasons behind your argument and explain why people should care about the issue you are petitioning to change. Explain how it applies to their own lives. For example: "As a result of lack of enough animal shelters, more stray dogs and cats are being destroyed or put on the street. When dogs and cats live on the street, eating scraps of trash, it is not only detrimental to the animals' health but it also makes it dangerous for people who come across them while they are walking around, especially at night. Furthermore, stray cats routinely make a mess out of garbage containers and dumpsters."
Explain how people's support can make a difference and give examples, if possible, of cases where local petitions have changed unjust laws or ordinances in the area. People want to be assured that they would not be wasting their time by even reading your petition, let alone signing it. Make this part of the petition brief--its purpose is just to boost people's confidence in organized campaigns that incorporate petitioning.
Include several pages filled with dotted lines for people to sign their names. You are going to retain all pages that contain signatures and staple them to the petition.
Go around the neighborhood to try to get as many signatures as possible, but do not intrude on private property or harass people in public parking lots. Be polite when approaching people and do not be offended if they ignore or insult you. People can be impatient with activists. Do not follow them if they are reluctant to speak to you.
Send a copy of your petition and copies of the pages filled with signatures to your local congressman, mayor, senator or other leader who can work to implement the changes you seek, once you have enough signatures to satisfy you.
- Keep the actual petition page--with the introduction and the explanations--only one page long. People do not tend to have the patience to read through several printed pages.
- You can post the petition online, but note that policymakers may not take online petitions as seriously, as they do not contain physical signatures.
Items you will need
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