Using Online Petitions to Mobilize Communities Around Science Education

Josh NelsonJosh Rosenau

      Josh Nelson           Josh Rosenau


Online petitions can be a powerful tool for mobilizing public opinion behind a cause and demanding action from those in power. But a successful petition effort involves more than just posting a petition on a site like CREDO Mobilize,,, Democracy For America’s YouPower, or the White House’s own We The People.

In this online training, we demonstrate how to create a petition using one of the widely-used online petition platforms, and discuss how to write a great petition. We explore how to promote it once it’s online, and how to use the petition when meeting with the decision makers you’re targeting. And we talk about ways to work with the people who signed the petition: how to encourage signers to get more involved in the cause and in your own planned actions, and how and when to keep signers informed about the petition’s progress. This training helps advocates without much experience in online organizing learn one of the most versatile and powerful tools available, while experienced activists will learn new approaches and discuss their own experiences.

Josh Nelson—Campaign Manager at CREDO Action—demonstrates CREDO Mobilize, an online petition system that lets individual grassroots advocates tap into a broad network of likeminded citizens. He demonstrates the website and discusses how to get the most out of it and similar platforms, and shares best practices and his experiences gleaned as an online organizer for groups including the National Wildlife Federation, Alliance for Climate Protection, and CREDO. Josh Rosenau—Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education—hosts the session and shares his experiences with petitions at NCSE, and what he’s seen work well for grassroots science advocates.