What You Need To Know
The following concepts are important to understand before creating and using petitions, and the key questions will help you to plan your petition.
Petitions are a function within the CiviCampaign component of CiviCRM. When an individual responds to a petition, an activity record of the type Petition is created that contains the individual's responses to the petition questions.
Petitions are essentially online surveys.
Petitions and campaigns
Petition is a feature of CiviCampaign; but a petition doesn't necessarily have to be connected to a specific campaign. For example, if the Toft Organisation For Tenants (TOFT) used a petition to assess members' satisfaction with TOFT's web site, it probably would not need to be connected to a campaign. But the petition described in the scenario in the previous chapter is part of TOFT's Demand for Better Housing campaign, which includes a survey and other activities. Connecting the petition to the campaign enabled the organisation's staff to analyse petition responses in the context of the other strategies and activities in the campaign.
Profiles and custom fields
Using petitions in CiviCRM requires setting up two profiles. One profile is to capture basic contact information, including email address. Capturing email addresses via petitions is necessary to validate and accurately verify the submission and count signatures, especially since you won't want to count multiple submissions from a single person. The other profile contains custom activity fields that hold the responses to the petition questions.
You will want prepare your questions and the standard responses, if any, you want to gather before creating your custom field sets and custom profiles.
To learn more about how to create custom field sets, see the chapter on Creating Custom Fields in the section Organising Your Data. To learn how to create a custom profile, see Profiles in the section Organising your Data.
If you are using Drupal, you need to set permissions to allow specific roles to Sign CiviCRM Petitions. Refer to the next chapter called Set-up in this section, to find out what permissions you'll need to allow. To learn more about setting Drupal permissions, go to the Drupal documentation at http://drupal.org.
Think about the online strategies you will use and consider these questions before creating your petition:
- Do you plan to send the petition via email?
- Will you link to the petition on your website for people to sign?
- Will you use other social media or offline strategies to drive people to your website to sign the petition?
- How will you frame your message so that people will want to sign your petition?
- What do you plan to do with the results from the petition?
- What follow-up activities are you planning to continue communicating and building a relationship with petition signers?