Petitions

Petitions are one of the most powerful activism tools ever invented. Online petitions are special because they allow everyone to give their opinion a voice instantly.

Why start a petition on OpinionFirst?

Every registered voter can start a petition for their own neighborhood, place, province, state, country or for every group that was joined. 

OpinionFirst helps you to get your petition signed. The platform offers you advantages that can't be found elsewhere. Once your petition is published you have all the tools available to promote your petition!

Click here to start your petition! 

We advise you to read the standards and guidelines on how to write a valid and successful petition below. 

OpinionFirst is a worldwide platform. Consequently, it is important to inform the right people about your petition. Who should sign your petition? Which citizens, employees or members does it concern? OpinionFirst gives you a 'place' or 'group' suggestion, which you can change if needed.

Now that is clear who should receive your petition, let's create it:

①  What is the topic? 

What is your petition about? Select an existing OpinionFirst topic or start a new topic if that is not possible.

②  Start a petition

Express your petition in a clear, complete and concise way in order to attract the maximum number of signatures. Make sure you have read all the existing proposals and petitions on an existing topic before adding a petition. This helps to prevent duplicates and ensures better voting results.

Your title

We recommend a catchy, not too long title. Your title is never against something! It should state what you propose that should be done. 

Your petition text

Start your petition by giving a brief summary. With this text you attract signatures. It appears in invitations by e-mail, in petition listings and on other places, so use the most important keywords. 

Subsequently you indicate on behalf of whom you post your petition and you can give background information, evidence, arguments, references and advantages of what you propose.

Some people include a personal story here. Remember that people won’t always know that much about the issue you’re petitioning about, so explain why you want action and what problem it solves.

③  Promote your petition

You immediately can start promoting your petition with a click on the blue button.

If you can't write a brief summary or have no arguments for a constructive petition, then use a "Statement"!

For quality reasons we ask you to have 1 or more people sign your petition, before it will become publicly visible for everyone. 

Petition result

The greater the number of signatures that you acquire through continuous attention and promotion, the more your petition will convince the authorities or management. On OpinionFirst you can start a petition for any neighborhood, place, country or group.

A response not only depends on the number of signatures. It also is directly related to the level of democratic leadership of the authorities or management. Furthermore there are different levels of response. In England for example the government will respond at 10,000 signatures to a petition and at 100,000 signatures, a petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

Opinion leaders and ambassadors for a petition can press for action from government, parliamentary bodies, councils or boards based on the number of signatures or votes visible on OpinionFirst. The DemocracyFirst Foundation can also press for action on your behalf and all kind of combinations are possible.

Guidelines to write a successful petition

A petition is always related to a topic. A petition is a proposal or request that runs for 6 months. This places greater demands on you and your team than submitting a proposal. The challenge is to reach your desired number of signatures within that period. After the deadline, the petition remains available as a proposal to be voted on.

There are all kinds of petitions. Like most things in life, petitions come in all flavors. Some are successful, gathering tens of thousands of signatures, and national media attention. Some disappear almost without a trace, maybe getting a few signatures from the immediate circle of friends and family, but never really catching on. 

Naturally you want people to take your petition seriously. What makes a petition successful is difficult to say. Some of it is timing. Some of it is just luck. Still, there are a few principles or guidelines for writing a valid and successful petition:

①  Write your proposal briefly, concisely and to the point

It's important to state your proposal concisely, and at the start of the petition. What is your solution or goal? Although a good petition can include a certain amount of background and context, the first paragraph should make it absolutely clear what the petition hopes to achieve.

②  Spell check, proofread and let read to others

If you want people to take your petition seriously, then you need to spell-check your petition and to put in the time to make sure your petition sounds serious and professional. Let others read it up front!

It is recommended to have more people review your petition before publishing. More ideas and thoughts could clarify your petition before publishing it. Other eyes read differently.

③  Be practical

Your petition should be ambitious, but realistic. The change you are advocating should be concrete and achievable. If visitors to your petition think you're just shooting for the moon, they're unlikely to sign the petition, even if they support the cause.

④  Be polite and reasonable

It's important to make your point, but it's also important to do so politely. Potential signers are turned off by rude or offensive petitions, even if they're sympathetic to the goals you're trying to achieve. The best petitions sound reasonable, intelligent, and willing to acknowledge other points of view.

⑤  Use your possibilities!

It's important to remember that the Internet, one of the most powerful activism tools ever invented, is at your disposal. You may wonder if your voice will ever be heard. But online petitions are special precisely because they allow everyone to have a voice.

Standards for petitions

We do our best to maintain a good quality standard and only reject petitions (proposals) that don’t meet OpinionFirst's standards. You can help to immediately report abuse under 'About' which can always be found at the bottom of every proposal, petition or 360º. 

Our moderators maintain the quality of OpinionFirst. They are warned if something isn't decent and or does not comply with the 'Rights and Responsibilities'. They may decide to remove a proposal or contribution, if it's:

  • not aimed at providing a constructive contribution
  • previously stated, so check if your contribution already exists for the topic
  • not appropriate or not complying with the law
  • not focused on the topic and your own contribution, but is responding to other contributions
  • not concerning the topic
  • not clear what your contribution is about
  • about personal issues
  • party political
  • confidential, libelous, false, racist, offensive or defamatory
  • contains language that may cause offence, or is provocative or extreme in its views deceptive or misleading
  • advertising or spam
  • nonsensical, not serious
  • breaks the local law or violates intellectual property rights
  • potentially confidential, commercially sensitive or might cause someone distress or financial loss
  • names people (except for senior politicians or management)
  • not using your real name and picture

Comments

On OpinionFirst everyone can comment on proposals, ideas, petitions and 360° contributions everywhere. We have no comment standards, but do appreciate constructive responses that comply with the local law.

 

 

Read more about the advantages of starting a petition on OpinionFirst

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