#1 Start a petition

The title

The title is the first thing people see about your petition. It should make it clear at a glance what your requirement 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 request clearly and precisely.

"It's five past twelve. Better conditions for primary schools now!" – Clear and unambiguous. Reminiscent of the expression 'It's five to twelve' and makes the enormous urgency of the matter clear. This means you have a catchphrase for a campaign and high recognition value in the media.

"Bivsi and her parents should return to Germany" – Short and direct. The title doesn't say everything and makes you curious to find out more about the background.

Examples of inappropriate titles:

"Death penalty for pastor in Iran" – Ambiguously formulated: what was called for was the release of the clergyman, not the death penalty.

"Protest against the EU directive RL 2010/63/EU" – What might it be about? Very few people probably know this administrative abbreviation. Cats and dogs that are found running loose should be able to be handed over to animal testing laboratories - that's what it's about and it should be immediately apparent in the title.

The picture

Under no circumstances should your petition go online without a picture, because the first look counts. Supporters such as journalists will pay more attention to an attractive, well-thought-out petition than to a hastily created petition without an image. People think in images – and like to spread them around. For correct display, upload an image in landscape format with an aspect ratio of 3:2. If the aspect ratio is incorrect, you can easily crop the image automatically after uploading. Please make sure that you use images 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 correctly labeled.

Choose an active, strong gesture as the motif that many people can rally behind.

You want to actively change something: If you show an inspiring role model, many people will want to join you. Show that your cause is mobilizing!

Tell a personal story – focus on those affected

We can immediately establish a relationship with the concern and actions of an individual person.

Show a symbol of something intangible

If your concern is invisible, such as general conditions in the education system or tuition fees, use a symbol that makes the problem or its urgency tangible. Illustrate the problem with a comparison or convert linguistic phrases into images. A ringing alarm clock in conjunction with the petition title 'It's five past twelve. Better conditions for primary schools now!' makes it clear how acute the petitioners' demand is. It is also good to use logos that are highly recognizable.

The text

The text is the heart of the petition. Here you explain your demand and can convince other people of your concern. Your request should be as specific as possible. In the first section, you answer the following questions: What exactly do you want to achieve? Who is the claim aimed at? Who is behind the demand?

Under “Reason” you can explain exactly why your concern is important. Describe the current situation and why it needs to change. Make it clear how the request would impact this. Here you can also share individual examples or your individual experience. The justification should not be too long. It's worth offering further information on your own page or on Facebook and informing those who support you about it using the news function. The justification for your petition should be logically comprehensible. 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. To do this, include links to articles or studies. Pay very close attention to the reliability of the sources, otherwise the entire petition will become unreliable. 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 based on facts (this is where you include serious evidence). Be sure to 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.

recipients

The people your petition is addressed to are the people who can decide on your issue. If you direct your demands at someone who is not responsible for them, you will achieve nothing. That's why you have to think carefully beforehand about who the right recipients are: specific people, a parliament or an organization from politics, business or society.

Entries like “Merkel”, “Authority” or “Everyone” make little sense. In principle, it makes sense to submit your request to the petitions committee at the relevant level, e.g. '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 the recipient. Does the issue affect people in the city of Barcelona, in the Styria region or throughout Poland? For example, if a petition is addressed to the BBC with a demand that affects television programming, the region is not London. Even though the BBC is based there, Great Britain must be registered as a region because the television program affects the whole of Great Britain.

Is the concern acute because the crucial 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 for longer than a year. Longer durations 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 entities, 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. Ie high enough to build up public pressure, but still realistically achievable. A goal that is unattainably high is demotivating, and a goal that is too low makes it seem like you don't have to make any effort (or sign at all). This amount varies depending on how large the group of people affected by the issue is. In a small community, just a few hundred signatures is a large amount. For national concerns, the aim is to have at least 10,000.

If the petition is addressed to a parliament (local council, state parliament, etc.), there is a quorum on openPetition . The amount of the quorum depends on the number of votes that a representative needs to be elected to the respective parliament. If the openPetition quorum is reached, openPetition requests statements from representatives (municipal councils, state parliament members, etc.). The answers can then be viewed on the petition page and contribute to an open citizen-politician dialogue. More on this…

Danger: Reaching the openPetition quorum does not mean that the request will automatically succeed. Likewise, failure to reach a quorum does not mean that the petition has failed. Even petitions that do not reach the quorum should be submitted and handed over - because they can be successful!

After creating the petition, the next step comes: #2 Spread the petition

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