Change.org has become the go-to place for people looking to create change in the world. With more than 150 million people around the world using the site to run their own campaigns, we now see a petition achieve victory nearly every hour.
When someone starts a great petition that thousands of people sign, a lack of financial resources can sometimes make it difficult to move the campaign forward with tactics like organizing a rally, traveling to meet with a decision maker, or putting up a billboard.
Now, our new crowdfunding tool means that petition supporters can chip in to make these actions possible. And we’re the only platform where fundraisers are directly connected to petitions, making it incredibly easy for supporters to contribute to petitions they care about the most.
One of the most effective tactics for engaging with the decision maker on a petition is to print and deliver signatures in person. But it could cost hundreds of dollars to print them, and it costs even more If you have to travel to deliver your signatures. Those costs can be far out of reach for most people. That’s why it’s incredibly exciting to see petition starters already using the crowdfunding tool to make petition deliveries possible.
Jordan Figueiredo raised $2,000 to cover the cost of printing his signatures, creating signs, and traveling to Walmart’s headquarters to deliver them in person. His petition delivery was covered by the Huffington Post, and he even got a meeting with Walmart executives.
After surviving a sexual assault in Massachusetts, Amanda Nguyen felt that “Navigating the broken system was worse than the rape itself.” So she began working with Congress to draft the first ever Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, legislation that will help give basic civil rights to sexual assault survivors. When over 100,000 people signed her petition in support of the bill, she asked them to help raise enough money to help other sexual assault survivors travel to Washington, D.C. to meet directly with members of Congress.
Amanda was able to raise over $20,000 and bring survivors to Washington to deliver the petition to members of Congress. Since then the bill since passed unanimously in the Senate and she hopes it will be on President Obama’s desk by September.
Petition starters can also raise funds after their petition wins and we’re seeing this especially in criminal justice victories where someone was recently released from prison after being exonerated for a crime they didn’t commit or being granted clemency.
One of my favorite campaigns is about Sharanda Jones, who spent 17 years in prison for a first-time nonviolent drug offense. In December, she was granted clemency by President Obama after over 279,000 people signed her daughter’s petition. When Sharanda’s petition signers heard that she would be released, they raised over $25,000 to help her start her new life. Today she is free and recently became a grandmother!
The ability to fundraise on Change.org is already changing what’s possible for petition starters and we’re so excited to see how this will help. If you’d like to learn more about crowdfunding on Change.org petitions, you can check out a few more incredible examples here.