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Selecting a Petition Target

Directing your petition at the right person

The target is the person you are publicly and directly calling to act. Choosing the right target can be the difference between a successful petition and one that never gets noticed. But deciding who it should be is often difficult. Here are some things to think about when picking a target:


  • Your target should be able to actually make the decision. If they need approval from someone above them, then consider targeting that person instead. The person in charge of purchasing for a furniture company probably needs his boss to approve switching to rainforest-free wood. When in doubt between two targets, it's probably a good idea to target the more powerful person.
  • The target should be an individual, not a group or body. You want to target the chair of a key Parliamentary committee, not 'Parliament'; the Mayor, not 'the city'; the CEO, not the company. It's perfectly fine to target multiple individuals, such as two undecided members of city council.
  • The target is a person. They have emotions, professional goals, friends, family, and everything that other people have. Consider how these things may influence their decision on your issue and what matters to them. If you know that the person is planning to retire next year, they aren't interested in being reelected but they may care deeply about their legacy.


Whose decision is needed to grant the petition’s ask?
  • The target should always be the person with the power to give you what you want.
  • The target should match the specific solution you’re calling for.

Is this person going to respond?
The people with the most power are also often the most difficult to reach.
  • For a company: the CEO is likely an appropriate target, but may be pretty busy. While your target should be the decision-maker, you should communicate with others at the company, such as people in the press team, to help insure you have someone paying attention who can reach the decision-maker.
  • For national government: the Head of State often has a lot of power, but isn't involved in most decisions in the country. Is your issue big enough to be on their agenda? Perhaps a cabinet Minister or a congressperson is the right choice.