As you probably know, petitions are one of the best ways to grow your email community and keep it engaged. But sometimes – particularly for issue-specific organizations – coming up with good petition topics can be tough.

Here are five ideas for making it easier to identify viable petition topics:

  1. Brainstorm: Once a month – or however often feels appropriate to meet your needs – pull the full team together for a 30 minute brainstorming session on potential petition topics. It’s important to emphasize that there are no bad ideas, since off-the-wall ideas that won’t be viable can often serve as inspiration for better ideas. Include your full team if possible, since coming up with good petition ideas is something just about anyone can do. And make sure to capture all of the ideas so a campaigner or digital staffer can sort them later and determine which make sense to pursue.
  2. Focus on villains: Develop and maintain a list of villains who often try to enact policies you oppose. This might include elected officials, regulators, corporations and other key decision makers. Searching Google News or the press sections of these villains websites can be a great way to find fodder for petitions.
  3. Focus on heroes: Similar to the recommendation above, develop and maintain a list of heroes or champions whose work you support or agree with. Looking through their press pages can help you identify new legislation or other initiatives you might want to support with a petition.
  4. Consider policy priorities: Read through your organization or campaign’s policy priorities. Not only will this keep you grounded in petition ideas that are a good fit for your campaign or organization, it may also inspire new ideas.
  5. Follow likeminded campaigns and organizations: Take a look at what likeminded campaigns and organizations are working on. While you may not want to copy their ideas directly, you may be able to come up with new or different angles for petitions, based on what your allies are up to.

As always, you can read through dozens of petition ideas we’ve come up with in this Google Doc, which we update at least once per week.