Know your Decision Maker

Reputational support

  • How does your decision maker want people to see them?
  • Whose opinion does your decision maker care about?
  • What news headline or celebrity statement would make them furious?

Economic support

  • Who are their donors or funders?
  • Who lends them money or invests in their business?
  • Who are their customers, constituents, suppliers, and workers?

Position support

  • Who appointed them and can replace them?
  • Who has the power to direct them to make a change?
  • Whose support do they rely on to continue in their position?


Plan your tactics

Once you know what your decision maker cares about, you can plan tactics to engage your supporters to help you win.

Start with actions and asks for your petition signers that are simple and easy for them to do. As your campaign gains momentum you can ask signers to take actions that are more challenging, and can have more impact. As your signers learn more about your campaign and become more invested, they will be willing to do more to help.

When you make your campaign plan, think about any dates that are relevant to your petition like meetings, hearings or decisions, holidays and cultural events and even the weather. For example, you could:

Ask supporters to call your decision maker in the week before a meeting
Plan a Father’s Day action for a petition around funding men’s health services
Plan an outdoor rally in summer, rather than winter - or check the weather forecast for the week ahead!

Don’t be afraid to adjust your plan to take advantage of unexpected opportunities too. For example, a big news story related to your petition or a response by your decision maker are great moments to ask your signers to take action. Be ready to act quickly if an opportunity comes up.

The petition update tool is an important tool that you can use to ask signers to take action on your petition.

Tactics bank

The types of tactics that you can use are limited only by your imagination, but here are some ideas to get you started.

Easy, introductory online actions
  • Share your petition and ask their friends and family to sign
  • Share an article on your petition on social media
  • Tweet at a decision maker or post on their Facebook wall

Supporters of a petition to ALDI Australia calling for the supermarket to stop selling eggs from caged hens bombarded the ALDI facebook page with their outrage over its practices, the posts even generated media coverage of this consumer backlash.


  • Tweet at local or relevant journalists about the petition
  • Tweet at a celebrity and ask them to share your petition

Women's Health Magazine asked supporters to tweet at celebrities to request they share the magazine's petition for paid parental leave.

  • Join or create a Facebook group for the campaign
  • Email the decision maker directly about your petition
  • Email the investors, partners, customers or supporters of your decision maker about your petition
  • Take a survey to create data about your issue
  • Share a message of support

Morenike Giwa Onaiwu started a petition to drop a prosecution against a six year old autistic boy. Ahead of his trial Morenike asked signers to share messages of support.

“Hi Kayleb! You must be pretty upset with everything that's happened. I promise you your family is fighting for you and so are the THOUSANDS of us who love and care about YOU!  

Love and God bless - Helen"

  • Write an online review about the decision maker, for example on Yelp
  • Write a letter to the editor about your issue
  • Use an online complaints or feedback form
  • Ask signers to email you their personal story about the issue to use in lobbying meetings or media

Keith Wade asked signers of his petition to Domino’s to start paying its pizza delivery drivers minimum wage to share their stories of low pay and mistreatment at the company, to help support his case. Lots of young, overworked and underpaid former and current employees shared their stories of worker exploitation.


Higher commitment, more impactful actions
  • Call talk radio about your issue
  • Take a photo for the campaign

When Nadir faced deportation back to Afghanistan, where his father was killed and he faced the same fate, signers of his petition shared photos of their support for Nadir - asking for the Immigration Minister to grant his visa.

  • Join a conference call briefing on your petition
  • Distribute stickers about the campaign
  • Ask signers to change their social media profile photo to a campaign image
  • Ask signers to record a video message to the decision maker
  • Do a local delivery of the petition or a letter, for example to a Senator’s office or store
  • Phone a decision maker at their office

When May Ali had funding for the medication keeping her alive cut by the Federal Government, May called the Health Minister’s office pleading for funding to be reinstated. She asked signers of her petition to do the same, the Health Minister announced her access to the medicine was granted.

  • Send an object or gift to a Decision Maker
  • Ask signers to donate to buy a billboard, print ad or sky writing about the petition
  • Phone an ally or opponent of your decision maker to publicly support the petition
  • Host a stunt at the office of your decision maker such as a nurse-in
  • Host a rally or vigil about your petition
  • Attend a meeting with an investor, partner, customer or supporter of your Decision Maker
  • Attend a delivery of your petition with a delegation of your supporters

Dani Keogh, a victim of domestic abuse, garnered the support of over 60,000 signatures on her petition calling on the Government to close the loopholes that stopped her from fleeing her abuser, and was invited to deliver her petition to the Queensland Minister for Women. She attended the delivery with a supporter of her petition, who reached out after having a similar experience.

Highest commitment, highest impact actions
  • Ask your Decision Maker a question at a public event
  • Hold a web broadcast about the petition
  • Write and submit an opinion piece about your petition to a newspaper
  • Offer professional services like graphic design, website design, or video production
  • Speak at a public forum like a school board or city council meeting

Omotayo Richmond asked his signers to attend a school board hearing to rename a High School in Jacksonville, FL named after the founder of the Ku Klux Klan.

  • Ask signers to start their own petition targeting a local decision maker
  • Create a social media share graphic about your petition, for example using quotes from signers
  • Have a lobbying meeting with a person who is influential with your decision maker to tell them about your petition
  • Disrupt a public meeting, for example by unrolling a banner while your decision maker is speaking
  • Turn up at the Decision Maker’s public events in a costume

Klaus Bartosch delivered his petition to Jetstar to end the credit card surcharges complete with a gigantic paper aeroplane - featuring the number of signatures he’d collected on his petition.

  • Hold your own rally or vigil about your petition
  • Create a video about the petition to send to your Decision Maker and share online