Skip to main content
Christian Aid climate change campaigners outside 10 Downing Street

Petition power

How a simple petition can be used to build your campaign

Published on 3 February 2021

So you want me to sign another petition?

Yes! But we don’t want you to stop there.

If you've been campaigning for a while it’s probably crossed your mind at least once that you’re not sure there’s any point signing another petition. You might be thinking ‘Do they really make any difference?’ or ‘Does the right person even see it?’ and ‘What happens after I sign it?!’. 

All of these are important questions. But the fact is that petitions have led to real and concrete changes in the past, and that as part of a bigger campaign, they remain a really important tool to make change.

Petitions help to demonstrate how many people care about an issue. But that demonstration of concern has to be made visible – that’s where the power of petitions comes from. We often do this by organising a ‘hand-in’ of the petition to the relevant decision maker, whether that’s the PM outside the door of Number 10, or the CEO of a company at their AGM. But there are plenty of ways you can help raise the visibility of a petition before that final hand-in moment in order to increase its impact.

Petitions are also a useful tool for a campaigner to start a conversation with someone about an issue. Inviting them to sign the petition can be a first step towards taking other actions.  

Grow your impact

Here are some ways you can use our latest climate justice petition (online or offline!) to help increase its impact.

  • Who else can you ask to sign the petition? A direct message always works best, so sending it via text message or email is probably more effective than just sharing on your social media page. Also consider what networks you belong to that it could be shared in, whether that’s your church notices, book club Whatsapp group or choir email list.
  • Set yourself a target, and then celebrate it.  Deciding that you want 100 people, say, to sign the petition gives you something to aim for and helps people see themselves as part of something bigger rather than just one more name. Once you’ve reached your target, it’s also a great moment to...
  • Share the good news about sign-ons to the petition with your MP or local newspaper. This gives your actions more power and also increases awareness of the issue. We have some template letters to help you with this.
  • Ask local leaders to help you spread the word. If you feel like you’ve run out of people to ask (or you’ve become known as the person always asking them about a petition!) it’s worth thinking about who else could make the ask for you. That might be your church minister or someone else who is well respected locally.
  • Ask people to sign the petition as part of other activities. Organising a prayer event or a film night will help get people interested in the issue first, which makes the ask much easier. In fact, after these events, people will be keen to know how to respond!

This year our calls for climate justice need to be stronger than ever before to help create the pressure needed for change as our government prepares to host the G7 meeting of world leaders and the UN climate talks. 

Tell us more

If you have a great story to share about your petition successes, or need more help in building power locally, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

/sites/default/files/2018-10/Climate_campaigners_Downing_Street_6025277.jpg