A petition is a request for something to be done, which is commonly addressed to a government official or public officer. It can also be seen as a document addressed to an official and signed by many supporters.
There are many instances where petitions can be written. They may be written to call government attention to issues in the community, it may be to address abuse of human rights or to attend to workers’ demands.
Petitions can make real impacts if they are carefully researched and well written to present a case clearly and easily in a polite and friendly manner.
This will help you to get the needed support with signatures regardless of how big or small your cause is. The following steps should be followed in writing a petition:
1. Build your argument
A lot of time must be spent on research into the argument you want to present. Check online for information about your cause and possible counterpoints to such argument.
For instance if you want to petition your state government for a high way to be constructed that will lead to loss forests in your village, check rules and regulations for environmental impact assessment, any past projects and their impacts if possible. Make sure your petition has a strong point to drive home.
2. Find out who to address your petition to
Before you start writing a petition, think about the person or office that has the jurisdiction to implement it. This may be a local, state, the federal government or an office in the government.
You should double check to make sure the office you address your petition to is the right office to implement it. You should then ask for guidelines on how to write the petition for the particular office and find out if your petition will require approval before you start circulating it.
3. Find out how many signatures are required for your kind of petition
Every organization has specific guidelines for different petition types including the number of signatures required to implement a each type. Find out this information before you set out.
4. Write a statement of your goal
The signers need to get a clear, concise and strong picture of what your goal is to spark their interest. Write a short statement to convey your message. It doesn’t have to contain every detail but should be rich enough to give the whole picture.
5. Write a brief summary of your cause
Under your goal statement, write a brief summary of your cause which should describe the issue at hand, why the issue matters and a proposed action to address it. This should make sense even to someone who is clueless about the petition. You may give someone to read to make sure it is passing a clear message.
6. There should be references for your petition
After you carry out your research you must have gotten information from other sources to include in your petition. Make sure you make a list of such sources known as references and attach to the petition so that your claims can be verified from the sources.
7. Edit your petition
You need to read your petition several times to make sure it is free of typos and spelling errors. You don’t want to submit a petition full of obvious mistakes or you won’t be taken seriously by the office you are submitting to. Employ the use of spell check to make sure your petition is clear and free of errors.
8. Let people know the end goal of your petition
After you make a goal statement and write a summary of your cause, there is need to make a call to action by telling your readers what you hope to achieve and what the result of achieving the goal will be.
This will make it easier for people to accept the petition and to sign it. It will also make it more appealing to the officer who will implement it and therefore more likely to be implemented.
9. Let your readers know how they can help to further the cause
People may get really interested after reading your petition if it is well written, clear and concise. So include a paragraph or two on what they can do to help with your cause. Who should they call? What should they do? Make it clear to them.
10. Create a signer’s form
The signer’s form is where your readers can take the real action of signing the petition. If it is printed, write the title of the petition on top of the form and then a table with space for name, signature and other information such as phone numbers and emails depending on your goal.
Petitions can also be signed online through social media which is a lot easier and can reach many more people within a short time.
11. Start circulating your petition
Once you are set, you can start circulating your petition by going to public places where those interested in your cause may be found and explain your petition to them to get them to sign.
You can circulate through your office, school or association to reach as many people as possible. Send the petitions through social media as well since you can only meet a limited number of people in person.
Go to local gatherings such as rallies where issues touching your petition are being addressed and ask if you could give a quick talk about your petition.
Follow due protocols to enter schools and other places that you need permission to enter. You don’t want to upset people because of your petition so be polite and gentle.
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12. Create an online presence for online petitions
If you have an online version of the petition, create a blog or a page on Facebook specifically for the petition to get a tangible number of viewers who may turn out to be signers.
Send the petitions through WhatsApp and other social media to reach as many people as possible so that your petition can quickly reach the required number of signatures for implementation.
These are the steps you need to write a good petition. I hope you find the information helpful.
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