How To Start a Local Petition

Understanding the issues and how they affect people in town is the first thing you need to do if you want to conduct a local petition drive.You can develop a petition, gather community support, and then conduct a drive to collect signatures with a little understanding.Change that you believe is important for the good of your community can be brought about in this way.

Step 1: Understand what’s going on in your community.

Understanding the important issues in your community is required for a local petition drive.You can read your local newspapers.You can attend sessions of your city council.Find out what people are saying about you.

Step 2: Talk to politicians.

Contact leaders in your community to learn more about your topic.Some people may have an influence on your topic.You need to know what steps are already in place to address the changes you have in mind.If you are concerned about the use of public parks in your community, you may not need to talk to the mayor of your city.The director of the Parks Department can help you get more attention and positive results.If you see the same problem, ask the leaders if they have identified it.If they have any plans to address the problem in the future, then find out if they are doing anything about it.You may not need a petition if they are willing to make change.If they don’t seem to care, then a petition drive may be needed.

Step 3: Discuss the issue with friends.

Discuss the problem area with people you know.Do you know if they share your concerns?You don’t want to spend a lot of time on a petition drive if you’re not sure that there’s a need.Informal conversations can be had at this level.Ask, “What do you think about the noise levels on Friday nights?”Do you agree that we should try to get the city to do something about it?If you have the data, you can start sharing it.

Step 4: Discuss topics in discussion groups.

It is possible to organize small community gatherings to discuss the problem.If you want to hold a small meeting, invite some friends to your house or use a local church, library or community center.The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the problem and gauge the level of interest and concern among other community members.It is possible to invite relevant community leaders to attend.New regulations for dog walking in public parks might be discussed by the Director of the Parks Department.”I have asked you all to come together to discuss our need for another library branch in this town.”I want to hear what you have to say.As the discussion goes on, you can begin measuring support for a petition drive by asking, “How many of you would be willing to help me gather signatures to show the city that we are serious about this?”

Step 5: What is being done already?

Do you know if the city is taking any steps to address the problem you have identified?The city has already reviewed the issue and plans to start some changes in the near future, so you don’t want to waste time preparing a petition and then starting a signature drive.

Step 6: An effective title is created.

The title of your petition is the first thing people will see.You can get more people to stop and sign if you use something that attracts attention.Keep your title short and use strong verbs to tell people what you want to do.”Donate Recalled Cheerios to Those in Need” and “Stop Torturing Chickens for McNuggets” are examples of powerful petition titles.

Step 7: You must state your position clearly.

You need to say what you want to change in your community.The people who sign it need to understand what you want.You can start with a statement like, “We, the undersigned petitioners, believe that Smallville needs a separate park where dog owners can allow their pets to run freely.”We want the City Council to provide fencing for the park.

Step 8: Tell us why you think your position is right.

Give the community leaders a reason for what you want.Strong reasoning can be even more persuasive than a long list of signatures.Provide this information if you have any research or examples of other communities taking similar action.There are several surrounding communities that have created dog parks within the past two years.

Step 9: Do you know if a form is required?

Petitions can only be accepted on an official form.Others will accept any format.You should check with your city clerk to find out what is required.If you must use a specific form, ask where you can get it and find out if you are allowed to make copies or only use original forms.

Step 10: Know the rules for presenting a petition in your community.

If you only want to present a petition that states opinions, there are probably less requirements to follow.If you are using a petition drive to force a ballot question, you probably have to follow certain rules.The minimum number of signatures you need for the petition to be valid is one of the requirements.Specific forms or petition sheets can be used.You can use signatures along with printed names.Whether the signers must live within a certain geographical location or not.There are deadlines for submitting the petitions.

Step 11: Look at online petition templates.

There are a variety of free petition services if you search online for “create petition.”You can use some of the templates to make your own petition forms.They can help you set up an online petition drive.You need to verify that an online petition will be accepted before using this format.

Step 12: Determine your goals.

You will need to establish goals and expectations for gathering names based on your local rules for petition drives.You should aim to collect at least 50% more names than the minimum requirement.

Step 13: Volunteers are needed to help collect signatures.

You will not be able to conduct a successful petition drive on your own.Determine the number of signatures you need, and then calculate a reasonable number for each person to collect.You can use the figures to figure out how many volunteers you need.Suppose you want 5,000 signatures for a petition drive.Over the course of the petition drive, a single volunteer might bring in 500 signatures.You should get at least ten people to help.

Step 14: Your volunteers will need training and materials.

Each volunteer will need a number of pens, clipboards, and copies of the official petition sheet.You might want to set up information stations around town with promotional materials as well.To ensure that all of your volunteers understand the issue and are ready to sign the petition, discuss the cause fully with them.

Step 15: Be organized.

People shouldn’t be approached the same way to gather signatures.Give volunteers assigned locations to organize the signature drive.There are fixed stations, such as a table outside a grocery store.You can assign people to visit certain streets or neighborhoods.Common times are a good idea for collecting signatures.

Step 16: The final product can be produced.

The petitions should be collected and delivered to the appropriate government office.When your petition drive is over, find out where you need to send the petitions and have them delivered.You should contact the city clerk’s office if you don’t know.If your petition is directed to a particular department, you may be asked to deliver your final copies directly to that department.

Step 17: The Internet and social media can be used.

If a member of your group is good at using social media, you may be able to create an online petition.This would bring more attention to your issue.It is possible to reach many people much more quickly than with volunteers.Useful materials can be found on Facebook about creating and marketing online petitions.Links to features that help you create a petition, share it with a wide audience, and collect e-signatures are provided.

Step 18: Understand how e-signatures are accepted.

An online petition may not be useful if you have a large audience.Check with your local government leaders to find out if they will accept virtual e-signatures from online petitions.

Step 19: The local newspaper would be a good place to write editorial letters.

You should let the local paper know when you will be conducting your signature drive.A letter to the editor can be used to promote your signature drive.Information that will help the public find your information stations will make them want to sign your petition.A short letter like, “We have a strong need for a new dog park in our town” could be used.Surrounding towns have taken action and we are behind.A group of concerned citizens will be gathering signatures on a petition in front of the train station on Saturday morning.Everyone is encouraged to sign a petition.