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Introduction to ControlShift Petitions
ControlShift was built on the idea that regular people should be able to start and run campaigns on the issues that matter most to them, with support from existing advocacy organizations that they know and trust.
On ControlShift, the cornerstone of a campaign is a petition. These petitions may be standalone petitions (like 'Save My Library'); petitions that are part of a larger, distributed, and organizationally-directed effort (like 'Raise the Minimum Wage [in my town]'); or petitions that are included under a partnership with a like-minded organization. We'll take an in-depth look at the latter two use cases later in this tutorial, but for the moment, we'll start with standalone petitions.
For most of our organizations, visitors to their CSL instance are able to create their own petitions by clicking the start a campaign button included on the homepage or the button in the header.
After clicking to start their campaign, the user is brought to a page asking for basic information about their campaign, including the petition title, whom they are targeting, what they want them to do, and why it's important. They can also specify a location for the campaign and, if your organization has categories enabled, choose a category that the petition falls under. As they move through the form, they'll see the help text and guidance that your organization has configured.
Once they've finished entering that information, they'll be able to launch their new campaign. Depending on your organization's settings, petition creators will either gain access to their petition creator tools immediately after launching their campaign or they'll need to wait for a moderator to approve their campaign.
Petition Creator Tools
Petition creators (and admins) have access to various tools to help them run a successful campaign. These tools are visible when a logged in petition creator (or admin) views the petition's signature page.
The tools available to a petition creator will vary based on their campaign's status and its connections with other features, but most petition creators will have the majority of tools in common.
- Email supporters: allows the petition creator to contact their signers from within the platform. These emails are subject to moderation.
- Collect signatures on paper: allows the petition creator to take their petition offline and collect signatures in person.
- Edit Content: allows the petition creator to edit their petition after creation. These edits are subject to moderation.
- Organize Events: allows the petition creator to host events associated with their petition. These events are subject to moderation. If approved by admins, the petition creator will be able to invite their current and future signers to the event. This tool becomes available when the petition reaches 100 signatures and is moderated to good or above.
- Training: if the petition is in an effort, the training page provides expectations and additional information for the petition creator.
- Deliver petition: allows the petition creator to export limited signature information to stage an in-person or electronic delivery. If the petition has reached the organize events threshold, the petition creator will have the option of creating a delivery event.
- Settings: allows the petition creator to invite additional petition leaders, mark their petition as ended, and add custom fields to the signature form.
Moderation is one of the main workflows for admins, and content in need of moderation will be added to the unified moderation queue in your admin tools (admin homepage > Moderation).
For petitions, this queue will include newly created petitions, edited petitions, ended petitions (which are marked as ended by a petition creator from their petition creator Settings page), and reactivated petitions (petitions where the petition was ended, the ending was approved, and the petition creator decided to reactivate the petition).
For each of these types of petition, the moderation status you choose will affect how visible the petition is and what tools are available to the petition creator. To moderate a petition in the moderation queue, go to the queue (admin home > Moderation) and click the Moderate button. The modal that opens will vary depending on if the petition is new, edited, ended, or reactivated, but it will give you the information we have that's most relevant for that type of petition (e.g. we'll show all text for new petitions, just the edits for edited petitions, etc.). Once you've reviewed the content, choose a status from the dropdown at the top of the modal.
The options in the dropdown will also vary by the type of petition. For edited, ended, and reactivated campaigns, you'll first be asked whether you approve of the changes. For all campaigns, you'll also be asked to set a moderation status. There are six moderation statuses: spam, inappropriate, suppressed, approved, good, and awesome. While the statuses have additional settings attached to them, at their most basic:
- good and awesome mean the petition is fully visible. We recommend using good as your default status if you want the campaign to be shown to supporters.
- approved and suppressed mean that the petition is only partially visible. These statuses can be used if you want to limit a campaign's visibility without completely rejecting it.
- spam and inappropriate mean that the campaign is invisible.
Learn more about the different moderation statuses. Because moderation is a key workflow, you may wish to do a deeper dive into the moderation process for petitions:
- Learn more about moderation for new petitions.
- Learn more about moderation for edited petitions.
- Learn more about moderation for ended petitions.
- Learn more about moderation for reactivated petitions.
- Learn more about moderation for emails.
Petition Signer Experience
Once a petition has been created, and if it's moderated to be visible, site visitors can add their names to the campaign. Signers will be asked for basic contact information to sign the campaign including their email and first and last names. Depending on your organization's settings, signers may also be asked for additional information like: postcode, phone number, email opt-in, data processing consent, or other custom fields.
After entering their information and clicking to sign, they'll usually be shown an after-action prompt. The after-action prompt(s) may vary, but usually include a prompt to share the petition on social media. After signing, users can also leave a reason for signing the petition, which are publicly visible on the petition page.
Admin View of Petitions
Admins can view additional information about the petition and its signers and configure petition settings from the petition's admin view. To see the petition's admin view, go to the petition's signature page and click Admin. The options included in the admin view will vary by petition, depending on which actions have been taken for the petition you're viewing. Regardless of the petition, there are a lot of different settings and options included in a petition's admin view, and we'd recommend spending some time browsing through the various pages. We also have a help document that explains each option. Some of the highlights for new admins are:
- On the Details page you can see the petition's Associations, which will reflect whether the petition is a partner petition, belongs to a local group, and/or is included in an effort or landing page.
- Also on the Details page, the Homepage section allows you to promote the petition on your homepage.
- The Contact Messages page allows you to review any messages sent to the petition creator about the campaign.
- The Signatures page allows you to see and export the petition's signatures. On this page you can also see a graph of signature sources.
- The Settings page includes numerous settings for the petition. Some of the most highly used are:
- In the Signature Form section, you can configure custom fields that will be shown to petition signers.
- The After Signing > Post-Signing Actions section allows you to customize what a signer sees after they add their name to this petition. Learn more about post-signing experiences.
- The Social Media section allows you to customize how this petition will appear when shared on social media.
- The Ended and Won section allows you to update the petition's active status. Marking a petition as successful allows you to highlight your campaign win.
Petition Signatures and Sources
Admins can view a petition's signatures from the petition > Admin > Signatures. This page includes a list of all signatures, a graph showing the sources of those signatures, and the option to export the signatures to CSV.
Within the platform, admins are able to track where petition signatures are coming from via signature sources. There are three ways to track activity: the
source parameter, the
bucket parameter, and UTM parameters. Each of these options can be used via a URL parameter that's appended to a petition's URL. When someone shares a petition, we'll automatically update the
utm_source parameters to match their sharing channel. Admins can also use custom sources to track other sorts of activity. Learn more about signature sources.
Efforts & Landing Pages
Efforts and Landing Pages are two features that allow you to manage larger, distributed campaigns. While Efforts and Landing Pages are two different features, they share an organizing principle: that many smaller, locally targeted campaigns can, together, lead to big change. Some examples of the types of campaigns that can be run with these tools:
An organization wants to prevent the passage of a specific piece of legislation. They create an Effort with a separate petition targeting each member of parliament. After recruiting local leaders and signers, they coordinate the delivery of each petition to its targeted member of parliament.
An organization wants to raise the minimum wage. Instead of sending a single petition to Congress, they create a Landing Page so that supporters can work to raise their local minimum wages. Petitions are created by supporters and then delivered to their city councils, mayors, town boards, etc.
- An organization wants to prevent the sale of a harmful pesticide. They create an Effort targeting local hardware stores asking the franchise owners to not stock the pesticide. Members are able to search for their local store and lead local campaigns.
- An organization wants to collect various campaigns about libraries in one place. This isn't part of an organizational push, but the organization has seen a recent uptick in library campaigns and wants to have a single place for people to see and search through the campaigns. They create a landing page to make the petitions easy to find.
Efforts and Landing pages are both powerful features with a lot of different options. Within these features, admins can provide default petition text, customize emails, and easily manage the different petitions. Within Efforts, admins can also pre-choose petition targets, recruit local leaders for existing petitions, and bulk edit text.
The Partnerships feature allows organizations to collaborate and run petitions together. These petitions have the same functionality as other petitions on the platform, but include information about the partner organization on their signature page.
Partner admins have additional permissions on the platform, like the ability to contact all signers of their petitions at once, access to the petition creator tools for any petitions in their partnership, and (optionally) the ability to export the signers who have opted into their mailing list. ControlShift org admins have full control over the creation and configuration of partnerships, and partnerships can be a great way to grow your platform.
Petitions are a cornerstone of ControlShift, and while this document should have given you a good introduction to the petitions features, feel free to peruse this help center for more detailed information. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click to Submit a request above.
If you're interested in exploring other ControlShift features, you can choose your next pathway.