As a new candidate, a great first task is to create an free online petition at https://PetitionBuilder.org and share it out.
An online petition lets you pick a topic and people can sign up with their name, zip code and email address. They can also leave comments and upvote on other comments – which is empowering to the signers.
An online petition is an opportunity to test the waters in March, not at the August primary. Specifically:
- Pick a meaningful topic – Avoid frustrated partisan rhetoric that only appeals to the base. Choose something that resonate with their community and motivates voters.
- Get community feedback – If nobody signs your petition, it gives you a pulse that perhaps the topic is not broadly important and you should focus elsewhere. Signers can also leave comments and upvote on a petition, so that’s another signal you can use.
- Exercise your influencer network –To really get traction, you’re going to have to do more than just share it once on Facebook. Roll up your sleeves and go to community meetings, meet with other people, and be seen as a leader on the topic in the community. This is hard work, but all essential skills you will need on the campaign to get votes.
The bottom line is if you can’t even get 100 signatures on a petition, you certainly won’t get 10,000 votes in August! For many, running an online petition is a great wakeup call – but early enough that they can do something about it.
As you get your signatures, you can monitor the statistics page to see things like view rates, signup rates, share rates. You can even see a heat map of where the signups are coming from.
Some practical next steps after you get signatures:
- Use screen shots from the stats pages to make followup posts promoting the petition.
- Update your petition’s description with new information.
- Use the stats to identify the biggest influences
- Contact petition signers with followup messages and action items. You can import the signers into your own mail list or contact them via PetitionBuilder.
- Match your signers back to the voter-database to determine other attributes such as legislative district, party score, voting history, or other demographics. Voter-Science can help with this.