Doing Good with WordPress: Adding Petitions to Your Site
In the wake of the recent surge of online activism that led to the defeat (for now) of SOPA and PIPA, the US Congress bills that would have paved the way for unprecedented censorship of the web, it seems fitting to touch on a few ways you can use your WordPress site to create online petitions.
In addition to providing a platform for citizens to speak out on a particular issue, petitions can help you build your contact lists by getting new people to sign up for your newsletter or link to your site via social media. Of course, creating a petition solely for this purpose is pretty unethical and very inadvisable, but every social movement needs momentum and a healthy dose of opportunism to thrive.
If you’re out to change the world for the better, take full advantage of the best available tools that will get your message out and make more friends at the same time.
There are quite a few ways to create good petitions, and none of them are particularly difficult or time-intensive. Idealware.com has a great post reviewing the major options for any site (not just a WordPress one). They include using any of a number of low-cost third-party sites, adding some code to your own site (if, say, you’re using a database like Salesforce), and utilizing higher end options like Blackbaud and Convio.
The Best WP Solution:
Speak Up! Email Petitions Plugin
For WordPress users, you may not need to look outside your own CMS. Of two plugins made for this purpose, Speak Up! stands out.
This well-made and detailed plugin, available via the WP plugin directory, allows you to create petitions, email them automatically, keep track of the signatures you’ve gathered with a progress bar, and export the results to a .CSV file.
Speak Up! also features the options to display petitions as a widget, style it with a .css file, publicly display a list of the signees, and share via Facebook or Twitter with a single click. At the moment, this is plugin is the best bang for your buck-that is to say, it would be if it cost anything.
Another Good Option:
WordPress Petition Plugin
While this one is a bit older, it’s been used by many a WordPress activist and includes all the important facets of a good petition plugin. It’ll even keep you honest: You can delete but not edit signatories’ comments. Download it via the WP plugin directory here.