How to Design a Petition

Written by patricia o'malley
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How to Design a Petition
Pettitions can raise public awareness of and support for your issues. (business woman,making notes image by Allen Penton from

Petitions are tools to convince public authorities to take a particular action. There are no legal requirements for creating a petition, but community organisers have created an effective format through many years of experience. Paper petitions work best for smaller, local issues. Viral, petitions circulate online and typically involve national or international issues. Successful petitions begin with research. Decide what you want, why you want it and who can give it to you. The police chief, for example, can't order that a stop sign be placed on your street, but the city council can.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Write a memorable title and a clear statement describing the problem that you wish public officials to address and stating your solution to that problem. Keep it brief. Place in this text the name of the public officials you are targeting. This is the person or group who can grant your request.

  2. 2

    Place the title, statement, target and your name and contact information on the cover page.

  3. 3

    Put the title, page number and a blank space for the date and the circulator’s name or initials at the top of each signature page.

  4. 4

    Put a space at the bottom of each page to record the number of signatures on that page. The signature lines should include spaces for each signer’s name, address, and signature. Add spaces for phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Tips and warnings

  • Make the pages attractive and comfortable to use. Use a font and layout that’s easy to read, especially if your target audience is older. Leave plenty of room for signers to include their entire names, addresses, and other information. Don’t crowd the pages.
  • Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • In writing the petition title and problem statement, answer the questions of who, what, when , where, why and how. Include a few supporting facts or details.

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