To get the change you want to see, it's time to connect directly with the decision maker who can implement that change. Email, message or call and ask for a phone or in-person meeting. If your decision maker refuses to meet with you, don’t worry. There are other ways to get your message to them. If you’re not sure which person can give you what you want, check out these tips on choosing the right decision-maker. 

Here are the steps to connect and engage with your decision maker:


Step 1: Request a meeting

Always ask for a meeting -- in person or on the phone -- with your decision maker. If they won’t meet with you, get their attention by doing a petition delivery.

Request a meeting with the primary “decider” on your issue
Governments, companies, and other institutions are often complex, and the person in charge may not be the person who actually decides to give you what you’re asking for. Do research and ask questions until you get the name of the person who can help you. That’s who you should meet with.

Make use of assistants and staff
If you’re petitioning a government official or company executive, it may be hard to find their direct contact information. Search the website for contact information for staff or executive assistants who might be able to help you.

Tell your supporters about your meeting
Once you have a meeting (or a petition delivery) scheduled, let your supporters know. They’ll be excited to support you, and making a meeting public helps keep your decision maker accountable for attending.

 

Step 2: Prepare for the conversation

A conversation with your decision maker could be your big chance to make the change you want, so it's a great idea to prepare.

Practice with a friend
Practice the conversation ahead of time with a friend so you’re comfortable talking about your petition. Note relevant facts and details. Check out some suggested replies to common decision maker statements here.

Identify what you’re willing to negotiate
Most of the time, change-making includes some negotiation. Decide ahead of time what you’re willing to negotiate and what you’re not. Be honest with your decision maker about what is negotiable and be willing to listen to their proposals.

Bring your petition with you
Print your petition or download a digital copy onto a flash drive or CD and bring it with you. Being able to show the decision-maker the signatures and comments of your supporters is a powerful argument.

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Step 3: Explain what you want

Ask for something clear and specific
Ask for something concrete. For example “Give animals at least 6 square feet of space” rather than “Treat animals better.” You should be know clearly whether or not your decision maker has taken the action you’ve requested.

Examples:

Tell your story
Explain why this issue is important to you and how it affects you. If there are inspiring comments from your signers, share those as well. Tell your decision maker how proud and happy you and your supporters will be if they give you what you’re asking for. 

Listen
Stay true to your petition but be open to hearing their side of the story. Sometimes decision makers will have solutions you didn’t know were possible.

Tell them what happens next
Explain what you’ll do to keep trying to win your petition if you don’t get a response, like emailing more supporters, talking with the media, and holding events.

Agree on next steps
Write down actions you or the decision maker agrees to take and repeat them back at the end of the conversation. Agree on a timeline for all actions.


Step 4: Follow up

Send a thank you message
After the conversation, send a thank-you message to the decision maker and recap the conversation, including the next steps you decided on. This is a good opportunity to show that you and your supporters are committed to your cause.

Update your signers about the meeting
Send a message to your supporters to tell them how the meeting went and what you need them to do next. In some cases, you might want to reach back out to the media and tell them what happened in the meeting. 

Example:

Hold your decision maker accountable
Set reminders on your calendar to follow up with your decision maker and make sure they’re doing what they said they would.

Plan your next steps!
Based on the outcome of the meeting, decide what to do next. If you’re decision maker agreed to do what you asked for, declare victory and tell your supporters the good news. If they refused, ask your supporters for ideas to change their mind. If they’re working on a solution, stay in touch with them and the people who are cheering for you.