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Using Organise

Picking what's right for your campaign: petition or open letter?

Ready to take action but not sure whether to start a petition or open letter? Here’s a simple guide to help you choose the best option for your campaign.

Zainabb Hull
November 21, 2022

Petitions and open letters are a great way to kick off your campaign. They can help you to bring lots of people on board to help you win the change you want. They’re similar tools that let people show support for your campaign, and they can be used to influence employers, the government, and everyone in between. And on Organise, both petitions and open letters can be set up anonymously if you'd rather keep your identity private.

But how do you know which one to pick? While there’s no wrong answer, petitions and open letters have their own unique strengths that you can harness to boost your campaign.

When to start a petition 📄

Petitions are a way for you to gather supporters behind a specific demand.

A petition proves that lots of people support the change you want. They’re great if you have a clear and simple ask that you can summarise in a couple of sentences. They often work best if it's a straightforward issue that people can understand quickly. Other people sign petitions to support the specific ask.

When you start a petition, you should also write a paragraph or two explaining why this issue is important to you. This makes people understand the human impact of the problem so they’re more likely to sign.

Once there are lots of signatures behind your petition, always make sure to hand it in for maximum impact!

  • A petition is a great choice if you want to campaign for your employer to pay all staff a Real Living Wage, or for the government to U-turn on a new policy that impacts your work.

Want to look at some examples? Here are some awesome petitions to check out:

Ted Baker

Waterstones Wage

When to write an open letter ✉️

Open letters build support by asking people to add their names to a public letter that lays out shared concerns and experiences - and a call for action.

Open letters are public so they put the spotlight on the person or company they’re addressed to. Because they’re seen by lots of people, the person they’re addressed to feels public pressure to reply - and because you also make their reply public, it means they’re compelled to give an honest response.

They're a great tool to let decision-makers know what you want and why you want it. You can use open letters to give more context about why you're calling for action, or more detail on what you would like to change.

  • For example, in an open letter to your employer, you can give anonymised examples of the issue you’re addressing while suggesting changes you want to see.

Open letters can also work well if you have a broader call that may not have a single solution, or if there are several issues you want to raise.

  • You could write an open letter if you want to raise the issue of staff welfare at work and have several ideas for how your employer could address the problem.

Need some examples? Here are a couple of excellent open letters:

To the Prime Minister: Act now on cost of living crisis

Open Letter to the National Theatre

Ready to take action? 💪

You can get started on your petition or open letter over on Organise. Once you’ve set it up, the Organise team will be on hand to help you run and win your campaign!

Got questions before you begin? Email the Organise staff team at action@organise.network.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zainabb Hull