We know that Change.org petition starters are creative and resourceful - always looking for new ways to push their campaigns forward - and one trend we’ve been watching, in particular, is how our users have turned to crowdfunding to support their campaigns.
Online petitions are only as powerful as the community of supporters that move them to victory. Often times, cash donations are a crucial part of turning a petition into a major, agenda setting campaign. Petition starters know this--we’ve seen many of them start companion campaigns on other crowdfunding sites to raise the funds they need to win.
Jaha Dukureh raised funds to create a film about her life and her campaign against female genital mutilation. Jeff Mizanskey’s son started a petition to get clemency for his father who was serving life without parole for marijuana, and he raised money to run an ad campaign and then to support his dad post release.
In the coming weeks, we'll be testing out a basic fundraising feature on a small number of petitions in the US so we can see how it’s working and how people are using it.
Below is a screenshot from the fundraiser started by John Feal, a 9/11 first responder who petitioned Congress to pass a bill that covers first responder health care. After his petition victory, he started a fundraiser to help save the 9/11 Responders Remembered Park in Long Island.
Over time, we hope to make this feature more widely available.
We know that effective on-the-ground organizing often requires resources that many people calling for change don’t have. Printing out and delivering petitions, organizing rallies, flyering for community meetings, driving volunteers--that all costs money.
This new fundraising tool gives petition starters the ability to raise funds directly from their existing supporters, other users on Change.org, and the general public, in order to push their campaigns closer to victory.
Colin Mutchler is a product manager at Change.org.