I was lucky enough to be featured as a guest blogger, again, yesterday on the Campaign for America’s Health Centers blog site – saveourchcs.org. The post talked about holding a petition drive to show support for community health centers and Medicaid funding for my organization, HealthNet, and using the petition drive to leverage legislator visits.
One thing that I wasn’t able to touch on, however, was the way in which I was able to collect petition signatures online. I haven’t talked much about online tools for advocacy except for how Twitter may be the best one, but lately, I have become a HUGE FAN of Shortstack for Facebook apps.
I could go into all of the ins and outs of Shortstack, but just like anything else in social media JUST DO IT. By experimenting, you’ll find out what works and what doesn’t. Plus, even with the free version, you get access to all of the widgets.
Petition Drive… online
For our petition, I used the ‘Side by Side’ Template. I wanted to include images that drew people in to learn more, as well as show out Twitter stream to let people engage with us in other spheres if they’d like to.
You can’t see all of the petition, but this is what the page looked like on Facebook.
There are plenty of free tools out there to let you build Facebook apps, but I suggest using Shortstack! The widgets are very self-explanatory, and you are able to build your own pages from a blank template.
The one downside with the free version? You can not collect data from your contact forms straight into an Excel file. When people who signed the online petition clicked SUBMIT, I received an email with the information that they provided and had to manually enter all of the data.