A few weeks ago, I received a really interesting message from a Change.org member. This unnamed member asked a very simple and straightforward question: are your petitions real?
An easy way to answer that question is to point to our Victories column. Clearly, our petitions get the job done. But, for us, simply getting the job done isn’t good enough. At the end of the day, we are not just concerned with changing the world but, perhaps more importantly, changing the way that ordinary people change the world. That’s a lofty goal, for sure, but with a name like Change.org, you shouldn’t expect anything less.
A lot of folks believe that petitions don’t work. After all, how effective can a bunch of names on a piece of paper really be in forcing politicians or business executives to change their minds about something? More importantly, how do you even get them to read the petition in the first place?
That’s where our advanced petition tool comes in: instead of simply having a bunch of signatures on a web page, each time someone signs a petition on Change.org, an email is sent on their behalf directly to the target’s personal email address. How do you think that might influence you? One signature and one email – no problem. Ten emails? Okay, a little annoying. But, what about hundreds, even thousands of emails filling up a decision makers inbox, leaving them time to focus on little else? That sounds like it would be pretty hard to ignore.
Now, add to that barrage of emails some well-placed blog posts, Facebook messages and tweets – all of the sudden, the problem in the target’s inbox spills out all over the Internet. Those petition signatures are no longer just names on a piece of paper: they’re living, breathing, campaigning activists all over the world.
From there, our Advocacy Director usually takes over, working to get the target on the phone to add to the pressure and make sure they do the right thing. Sometimes they don’t. But, more and more often, they do.
So, are Change.org petitions real? Most definitely. But only as real as the people all over the world who sign them.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll take you behind the scenes for several of our campaign victories to show how Change.org members have been able to make a difference. But, in the meantime, I’ll leave you with a request: given what our 1 million members have accomplished, imagine how much more 2 million people can do.
Take Action - http://www.change.org/petitions?order=most