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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.

Key Concepts

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

When a site visitor signs a petition, a contact is saved and an activity is created. Profiles are used to display the fields for each.

The contact profile collects information about the signer of the petition, including their 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. This profile is required, and it must include an email address field.

The activity profile may be used to collect information specific to the petition signature.

First, you will want prepare the custom fields to store any questions you would like to ask on the petitions. Then, create the profiles, and finally, select the profiles when you create the petition.

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.

CMS Permissions

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.

Key Questions

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?