There are many actions you can take to build a powerful campaign to make positive change in your community and beyond. For six years, MoveOn members have been using these tools to make an impact on important local issues. And, since the 2016 election, thousands of petitions have been launched by individual MoveOn members and partner organizations in opposition to the Trump administration’s dangerous agenda.
Petitions can be a powerful building block of broader resistance organizing efforts. They are:
- delivered to decision-makers,
- highlighted to media outlets,
- and circulated online to raise awareness and grow our progressive community.
Here are five steps, based on hundreds of MoveOn member-run campaigns, that you can follow to develop your campaign and make a big difference. Still have questions after reading this guide? First check out our Frequently Answered Questions, and email if you still need help.
- Step 1: Kick-start your campaign with a MoveOn petition
- Step 2: Share your petition and grow your support
- Step 3: Organize your supporters
- Step 4: Increase pressure
- Step 5: Declare victory and next steps
Step 1: Kick-start your campaign with a MoveOn petition
Petitions are one of the oldest, most effective tools for change. If you haven’t already, start a petition now to help boost your campaign by clicking here. Petitions do many things, including:
- Allow you to reach many, many people who support your cause. MoveOn has been doing this for decades. Trust us: Your campaign needs supporters, and a petition will help you reach them.
- Get your message directly to the person or people who have the power to make your change. Our tools will automatically alert your petition targets to your demands.
- Give you a base of supporters to organize for further actions. Your petition isn’t just a way to collect names in support of a campaign—it’s also a pathway to action. Using the tools on your MoveOn.org petition dashboard, you can send a message to your petition signers, asking them to volunteer, share the campaign with their network, make a phone call, hit the streets for a rally or event, and more.
Step 2: Share your petition and grow your support
The old axiom is as true as ever: There’s power in numbers. Now that your petition is ready, share it with the world.
- Share your petition with your own network: The first step you take should be to share your petition by email, text, and/or on whatever social media you use. Share on Facebook and Twitter—and make sure to ask your friends to share the petition, too. Are you a member of any organizations that you think would support your campaign? Share with them. If this is a local issue, hop on the phone and have a conversation asking those organizations to support your campaign.
- Go beyond your own network: On Twitter, use a popular hashtag to make your campaign more visible. (Click here for a guide on using Twitter.) On Facebook, look for groups related to your issue and share in those groups. Look for people or organizations with large audiences—a celebrity with many followers can give your campaign a huge boost—and ask them to share your petition as well.
- Ask the MoveOn members who signed your petition to share the petition. Log into your dashboard by clicking on the link at the top of this page and send a message to your signers. Ask them to help grow your petition and support for the campaign. Setting a goal or a timeline can help motivate your supporters—and if you have an upcoming event or meeting with your decision-maker, be sure to tie that in. (For instance, “We’re delivering the petition on Tuesday. We have 640 petition signatures now. Can you help share the petition so we get to 700 before our meeting?” is more impactful than saying, “We need 1 million signatures. Please share.”)
Step 3: Organize your supporters
You’ve likely already been asking the MoveOn members who signed your petition to help spread the word about your campaign, but that’s just the beginning. In addition to asking people to help grow your petition, you can ask them to:
- Call decision makers. Making phone calls to decision-makers can have a big impact—it’s another channel to reach the people you’re working to influence. For local issues, even a few phone calls can spur a decision-maker into action. For national issues or larger state issues, it’s well known that clogged phone lines send an immediate signal to legislators that their constituents are engaged and organizing.
- Attend an event. The best people to invite to an event, rally, or planning meeting are the people who have already told you they support your campaign. Be sure to invite the MoveOn members who have signed your petition to events. Using the dashboard tools, you can send an email to supporters in certain areas, so if you have a local event, use that to invite the people most likely to attend.
- Ask for help. Organizing is all about setting up the conditions for others to take action. It’s rare to win a campaign with just one petition, one action, or a single person calling for a change. You need help. Ask the MoveOn members how they can be involved. Think about what your campaign needs and what kind of help you need.
Step 4: Increase pressure
Now that you’ve grown your petition and begun organizing your supporters, there is a lot more to do. Every campaign is unique and needs its own strategy. You already know who has the power to make the change you’re seeking. (This is likely the target on your petition.) Now, it’s time to think about how to influence that person or persons.
Some questions to ask:
- Who does the decision-maker listen to? This might be other city councilors, religious leaders, customers, or constituents. Think about how to best reach those people and how to make their participation in your campaign visible.
- Where does your campaign target promote their brand? If your target has social media accounts, it’s a good idea to show up where they are. Organize a social media day of action—leave comments on their Facebook profiles, tag them in tweets, leave reviews on sites like Amazon or Yelp.
- What are three different tactics you can use to get your target’s attention? It’s a good idea to think of a couple of different things to do that escalate pressure so your target knows you’re committed to seeing your campaign through.
- Meet with your decision-maker or organize a petition delivery: You can use your petition to establish popular support for your campaign. Showing up with a huge box of petition signatures gives you more authority to demand your change, and it can be a powerful entry into a meeting with a decision-maker. Click here for tips on petition deliveries.
- Alert the media: Even if you aren’t delivering your petition in person, you can reach out to local press or bloggers and ask them to cover your campaign. Click here for tips on working with the press.
- Combine forces: If you haven’t already, think about who else you can work with in your community and reach out to those organizations or leaders. Be open to feedback on your campaign and think creatively about how you work with others to make a difference.
Step 5: Declare victory and next steps
Did you win the change you were seeking? Be sure to tell all of the people who supported your campaign by signing your petition about the news.
- Declare victory on your petition.
- Send a message to the MoveOn members who signed your petition. Thank them for being involved. Remind them what it took to win the change and what you did together. Share any media links or statements from your decision-maker. Ask your supporters to share the news with their networks.
- Share the news beyond your supporters by filling out our survey. We’re always looking to highlight and share good work from our members to help inspire other MoveOn member members around the country to take action.
- Think about next steps. Now that you’ve won this campaign, think about your next steps. Is there another campaign you want to support? The more campaigns you run, the stronger the movement becomes.
- 6 ways to promote your petition on Twitter
- Top 7 ways to engage your petition signers
- How to deliver your petition
- 6 tips for negotiating with decision-makers
- How to get media attention
- How to get LTEs printed
- How to bird-dog
- How to facilitate meetings
- De-escalation tips
- Archive of Ready to Resist call recordings