The title is the first thing others see about your petition. It should make it clear at a glance what your request is and arouse curiosity. Without a good title, the most important concern goes unnoticed.
Examples of successful petition titles:
"Landrat Bielefeld, handeln Sie jetzt! Freies WLAN an Cuxhavener Schulen" – addresses the addressee directly and formulates the demand clearly and unambiguously.
"It's five past twelve. Better framework conditions for primary schools now!" – Clear and unequivocal. Reminiscent of the phrase 'It's five to twelve' and makes the enormous urgency of the matter clear. This gives you a catchphrase for a campaign and a high recognition value in the media.
"Bivsi and her parents should go back to Germany" – Short and direct. The title doesn't say everything and makes you curious to learn more about the background.
Examples of inappropriate titles:
"Death penalty for pastor in Iran" – To put it ambiguously: the release of the clergyman was demanded, not the death penalty.
"Protest against the EU guideline RL 2010/63/EU" – What might it be about? Few of you should know this administrative abbreviation. Cats and dogs that are caught loose should be able to be handed over to animal testing laboratories - that's what it's all about and that should be immediately recognizable in the title.
Under no circumstances should your petition go online without a picture, because the first look counts. Supporters and journalists alike will pay more attention to an attractive, well-thought-out petition than to a hasty petition without a picture. People think in pictures – and are happy to spread them. Upload a landscape format image with a 3:2 aspect ratio for correct viewing. If the aspect ratio is wrong, you can easily automatically crop the image after uploading it. Please make sure that you use image material whose licenses you know. For example, images on these pages are royalty-free: https://pixabay.com and https://unsplash.com. We are liable for the content on this portal and reserve the right to delete images that are not properly marked.
Choose an active, strong gesture as the subject of the image, behind which many people can gather.
You want to actively change something: If you show an inspiring role model, many will want to join you. Show that your concern mobilizes!
Tell a personal story - focus on those affected
We can relate immediately to an individual's concern and actions.
Show a symbol for something intangible
If your concern is invisible, such as the framework conditions in the education system or tuition fees, use a symbol that makes the problem or its urgency tangible. Clarify the problem with a comparison or turn phrases into pictures. A ringing alarm clock associated with the petition title 'It's five past twelve. Better conditions for primary schools now!' makes it clear how acute the petitioners' demand is. The use of logos with a high recognition value is also good.
The text is the heart of the petition. Here you explain your request and can convince other people of your concern. Your request should be as specific as possible. In the first section, answer the following questions: What exactly do you want to achieve? To whom is the claim addressed? Who is behind the claim?
Under “Reason” you can explain exactly why your request is important. Describe the current situation and why it needs to be changed. Make it clear how the requirement would affect it. Here you can also share individual examples or your individual experience. The justification should not be too long. It is worthwhile to offer further information on a separate page or on Facebook and to point this out to the supporters via the news function. The justification of your petition should be logically understandable. It is important that you refer to the current legal situation.
Your petition will be more convincing if you back up your statements with sources. Include links to articles or studies. Pay very close attention to the seriousness of the sources, otherwise the whole petition will become implausible. It should be clear when in the petition you are expressing your personal opinion (e.g. “I have the impression that…”) and when you are arguing on the basis of facts (insert serious evidence at these points). In any case, avoid presenting your personal opinion as fact.
A petition is not a novel, but a well-founded demand. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and use clear, simple language.
The people addressed by your petition are the ones who can make decisions about your concerns. If you address your demands to someone who is not responsible for them, you will achieve nothing. You must therefore think carefully beforehand about who the right recipients are: specific people, a parliament or an organization from politics, business or society.
Entries such as "Merkel", "Authority" or "All" make little sense. Basically, it makes sense to submit your request to the petitions committee of the relevant level, eg 'Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag'. More on this… .
region and deadline
The region of the petition depends on the group of people affected and recipients. Does the concern affect people in the city of Barcelona, in the region of Styria or throughout Poland? For example, if a petition is addressed to the BBC with a demand concerning television programming, London is not the region. Even if the BBC is based there, Great Britain must be entered as a region because the television programming affects the whole of Great Britain.
Is the concern acute because the decisive city council meeting is taking place in about a week? Or are you working towards an event in two months? Petitions on openPetition should not run longer than one year. Longer terms distort a concern and its acute urgency. It makes a big difference whether 1,000 signatures are collected over a year or in a week.
Quorum or collection target
Petitions to non-governmental bodies, such as a television station, a bank or a private company, have a freely definable collection goal. A petition should have a meaningful collection goal. In other words, high enough to build up public pressure, but realistically achievable. A goal that is unattainably high is demotivating, a goal that is too low makes it seem like you don't have to make any effort (and don't even sign up). This amount varies depending on how large the group of those affected is. In a small community, a few hundred signatures is already a large number. At least 10,000 should be aimed at for national concerns.
If the petition is addressed to a parliament (local council, state parliament, etc.), there is a quorum on openPetition. The quorum depends on the number of votes that a deputy needs to be elected to the respective parliament. If the openPetition quorum is reached, openPetition requests statements from the members of parliament (municipal councillors, state parliamentarians, etc.). The answers can then be viewed on the petition page and contribute to an open dialogue between citizens and politics. More on this…
Danger: Reaching the openPetition quorum does not mean that the request is automatically successful. Likewise, failure to reach the quorum does not mean that the petition has failed. Petitions that do not reach the quorum should also be submitted and passed - because they can be successful!
After creating the petition comes the next step: #2 Spread the petition