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Tips on Gathering Petition Signatures

Gathering petition signatures can be a fun and simple way to take your activism a step further. The below tips are great for petition gathering, and some of them are key to any kind of organizing.

What to say

  1. The "Hook." Grab a pen and paper and come up with 3-5 short, snappy one-sentence "hooks" to grab people's attention. The idea is to ask a question that would 1) serve as an opening to a conversation, 2) convey the essence of an issue, and 3) let folks know that supporting your cause is really easy.

    Here are a couple examples:
    "Hi there, can you sign a petition telling President Obama to leave no soldier behind in Iraq?"
    "Do you have a minute to change our country's spending priorities?"
    "Have a minute? I have a petition to end the war in Afghanistan."

    Come up with a bunch and experiment with which ones work best. See if humor works.

  2. Cater your message to your audience. What worked great at a peace march may not fly at a Fourth of July parade.

  3. Prepare talking points ahead of time. They'll be helpful when folks ask you questions.

Make it fun

Sure, some people will say "no," or they'll walk right by you, or they'll try and pull you into a debate about how wrong you are. Here are some tips on how to find the right people and come away from the experience with a strong sense of accomplishment.

  1. Bring a friend! It can be really fun to work together and develop a 'routine.' Or you can play some fun games:

    * See who can get the most people to laugh while they sign the petition.
    * Give each other a silly phrase ("Heaven's to Betsy!") that you have to work into conversation with people.
    * Make it fun by wearing a costume or a funny hat (but always remember: know your audience!).

  2. Enjoy humanity. You can bet that while doing this, you will meet some pretty great people along the way.

  3. If you hit a losing streak. Remember, the folks who ended segregation and expanded voting rights built their cause partly by using tactics like these. Isn't that inspiring?

What to bring. You don't need much, just:

  • Clipboards
  • Pens
  • Friends
  • Comfy shoes
  • And of course, lots of petitions.

Location, Location, Location

Finding the right spot can make all the difference. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Casual gatherings
  • The park
  • The grocery store
  • At work
  • Farmer's markets
  • Appropriately themed public gatherings (Parades, Rallies, Outdoor concerts.)
  • The library
  • Riding public transit
  • Outside a movie that relates to the issue. (Body of War, Stop-Loss, Rendition, are all perfect, but any progressive politically themed movie can work.)

Double your Impact: Send us your Signatures

Double the impact of your petition by sending Peace Action a copy of the signatures! We will be happy to type them up for you and add them to our Action Alert Network.

Simply send copies of your petitions to:

Peace Action
Montgomery Center
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 524
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Or feel free to contact us if you have any questions.