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How to write a great petition

If you don’t know how to write a petition, or aren’t sure how to start, don't worry! Here's our easy step-by-step guide to kickstart your campaign.

Roxana Khan-Williams
December 8, 2022

Petitions are a way for you to gather supporters behind a specific demand and show CEOs or government leaders that there's lots of support for the change you want to make. Writing a petition is a powerful first step in any campaign, and you can keep your identity private if you’d like to.

Not sure whether you should use a petition or an open letter? Check out our short guide here.

If you've not set up a petition before or aren’t sure how to start, don't worry! Here’s our simple guide to get you started.

Write a punchy title 📰

This is the first thing people will see so it's super important! Explain the change you’re looking to make, and focus on the solution rather than the problem.

Research by found that, in the UK, petition titles starting with the word “Protect” attracted 50% more supporters than petitions starting with “Demand”, while petition titles beginning with “Save” gained 95% more! In the USA, titles starting with words like “Justice” and “Oppose” perform best.

The key here is to choose active, powerful words to open your title. For example:

  • Instead of writing, "Stop paying lorry drivers poverty wages," try "Pay all lorry drivers a real living wage."
  • And instead of, "Don't cut holiday pay for Asda workers", try "Save our holidays! Keep fair holiday pay for Asda workers."

Titles should be short and snappy - the most important thing is to clearly explain the change you want in one sentence.

Choosing the petition target or decision maker 🎯

The target of your petition is the person, people, or organizations with the power to make the changes you want to see. It should be addressed to the person in power you plan to deliver the petition to, rather than those you are asking to sign.

Not sure who to target? Read our guide to picking a target or decision-maker.

Your target could be your organization or its CEO, or even a government official if you want to see a change in the law.

Explain why this issue matters ❣️

This is your opportunity to explain why the issue is so important and persuade people to join your campaign. This will be the longest part of your petition - but it doesn’t have to be too long! Writing two or three short paragraphs works best.

Explain the issue and the change you want in the same way you would when talking to friends and family about it. Talk about how it affects people, and how making the change you’re calling for would positively impact colleagues and anyone who is affected.

If you have a personal experience of the issue - or have friends, family, or colleagues who do - include it! Sharing your story is the most powerful and effective way to encourage more people to support your campaign. You don't have to go into a lot of detail - just share how it impacts you, your family, or your working environment.

Be clear on the change you want 💎

The petition should be super clear about the demand you are asking supporters to put their names behind, and the action you are calling on the target to take. You want to keep it clear and short, and focused on the change you want.

Start with a "doing word" like start, keep, protect, save, scrap, or pay - this will help you focus the ask on the action you want the decision maker to take.

Top tips for writing your petition ✍️

Keep it informal 🦜

Write your petition like you’d talk about it when chatting with friends or family. You don't need to use formal or technical language - in fact, it’s better to keep it simple! You want everyone to understand even if they don't work in the same industry or role as you.

Keep it short and simple 📍

You want people reading your petition to understand what it's about quickly. Two or three short paragraphs are ideal!

Personal stories are really powerful 💚

People are more likely to support your petition if it’s clear why you care. Explain how the issue impacts you, your family, or your working environment, and how the change would make a difference.

Keep it professional 🧘‍♂️

This one’s really important: you might be feeling upset or angry at your employer, and it’s fine to say in your petition if you’re feeling like that. But if you want your employer to take it seriously, make sure the language and tone you use are professional.

Ready to set up your petition? It can take as little as 5 minutes to write your petition - and once you get started, the Organise team will be on hand to help you run and win your campaign! If you need any support, get in touch with the Organise team at


Roxana Khan-Williams

Roxy dives in to help Organise members start and win their campaigns. She can help you plan your tactics and build your confidence.