Special Delivery: what to do with those online petition signatures

Special Delivery: what to do with those online petition signatures

Now that your online petition is a hit, what can you do with it? Unfortunately simply announcing that you have gathered X number of signatures usually isn’t enough to get people’s attention in this age of saturation. So how can you get your members’ names to have maximum impact? Here’s some tips to get your own brainstorm going for an effective petition delivery, with special guest Melissa Byrne.

1) Deliver outside the box. An excellent petition delivery is a short event that reiterates the demands of the petition and provides strong photo ops. Along with one to two speakers, take a few minutes to plan a creative way to showcase the petition. In NYC, Ultraviolet delivered petitions to Macy’s inside their iconic paper shopping bags. At CNBC, Environment Action and Forecast the Facts used umbrellas to carry the petitions as a reference to climate change. A creative visual can make a big difference, especially if it is something that the target might actually keep around to remember you by. If your members are environmentally and/or socially conscious, be aware of not getting something too wasteful or made with poor labor practices that might go against their values.

2) Go live. Since your members took action online, it’s good for them to have a way to participate online in the actual delivery process as well. Plus, we all know that members want to get more than petitions and fundraising asks in their inboxes. Providing a high quality livestream lets them follow along from home, as well as comment and publicize the action on social meeting. Bonus: Media outlets are likely to embed your actions in their coverage. This happened to Forecast the Facts at their Google petition delivery in Washington, DC. Tip: If you can afford to hire a team, check out WeAct. They broadcast on YouTubeLive so it limits intrusive ads and lets you embed the livestream on your own landing page. If it isn’t possible to go live, be sure to take pictures or get the delivery on video, to report back to your members and let them know what happened.

3) Consider other social media techniques. If your target is holding some kind of existing online or public event, you can attempt to take it over while delivering your signatures and taking advantage of their preexisting audience.

4) Get personal. Sheer volume of signatures is fine, but it’s good to have a way to highlight more personal stories. Have a way for people to submit more in-depth responses. You can then tweet those directly at the decision-makers in addition to your delivery, and/or share with the media to highlight the personal side of your issue. Using a newer medium like Twitter or Facebook also increases the chances you will catch the attention of your target, rather than being the umpteenth group dropping off paper signatures or sending emails.

5) Don’t forget the media. If you’re doing some kind of petition delivery event and it’s newsworthy, it may get coverage if you give reporters a heads-up in time. Even if the delivery itself doesn’t get coverage, it’s an opportunity to connect with reporters who cover this issue, and perhaps influence future stories on this topic.

To sum up: whatever you do, you want to make it visual, visible, participatory, and social media-friendly.

Need help making a splash with your online action? Contact PowerThru today.

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