Petitions: E-Advocacy In PowerBase with screen casts


Petitions are public web pages that you can use to mobilize on-line support for an issue. By inviting people to "sign" the petition (by adding their contact information) you can educate people on the issue and collect their contact information so you can continue mobilizing them in the future.

There are three kinds of petitions available through PowerBase:

  • Standard Petitions: Essentially, an online sign-on form - you write text, create the petition, and then the petition form records the signer's contact information. A List of signers can be printed and delivered.

  • Email petitions: Optionally, you can also setup a petition that, when signed, generates an email to a target. As of now, the target can be either single email address or, you can send to the signee's state legislators based on the address they enter.


To use this Petition feature you will need to enable an extension or two - you will need Powerbase Administrator permissions or you can reach out to for assistance:

  • For Standard Petitions, you will need to enable the "CiviCRM Petition Email" extension: go to Administer > System Settings > Extensions > next to CiviCRM Petition Email, click Install
  • for Email Petitions, you will need the following:
    • Install the CiviCRM Petition Email extension
    • If you want to address matching to send to State Legislators, then Install the CiviCRM Petition Email - State Legislators extension
    • If you installed the State Legislators extension, you will need to configure the State Legislators email settings with the states you want and the Sunlight Foundation API key (reach out to to set up the key): go to Administer > CiviCampaign > State Legislators Email Settings > then enable the states you want, and enter the Sunlight Foundation API key, then click SAVE

Standard Petitions

Regardless of the kind of petition you want to use, all petitions start as a standard petition.

Click Campaigns -> New Petition.

Fill out a title and introduction that will be displayed to people who are directed to your petition.

If this petition is part of a bigger campaign, you can optionally choose the campaign with which to associate petition responses.

Next, select a Contact Profile. You may need to create the contact profile first if the "Petition Email Contact Info" profile is not available. This profile determines what information is recorded about the person signing the petition (e.g. name, email, address, phone, etc). Make sure when you add the email field to the profile, that you select "Primary" for the location type of the email and make it required. The address or phone fields can use the "From the Web" location type.

With a standard petition, the "Activity Profile" is optional. You can include it if you want to ask the signer some questions specific to the topic or petition.

To create custom Petition questions, create a custom data group that is used for Activities of the type Petition Signature. Then, create a profile that includes these fields.

However, if you are just interested in collecting contact information, leave the "Activity Profile" empty.

Fill out a Thank You Page title and message that people will receive when they fill out the petition.

And lastly, decide whether you want to by-pass email confirmation or not.

By default (with this option un-checked), anyone who signs the petition will have to check their email and click through a link sent to them before their petition signature is recorded.

If you are planning a short campaign and will be taking this petition offline after it ends, by-passing email confirmations will help boost the total number of signer and make it generally easier t use. However, for longer campaigns, spammers will discover the petition and you will get more garbage petitions if you by-pass the email confirmation.


For more information on the petition process, check out the CiviCRM User and Administrator guide.

Creating a Standard Petition screen cast

Email Petitions

First, set up the petition following the instructions to set up a Standard Petition.

If you would like to send an email to a target every time a petition is signed, look for the "Petition Email Delivery Options" section at the bottom of the new petition form (Note: If you don't see this section, contact support - we may need to enable the extension that provides it).

Once expanded, you are given a series of options.

Your first option is to choose the recipient or recipients. You can choose a single email address, you can choose all the signers state legislators or you can choose just the upper or lower house.

Next you will need to indicate which fields from your chosen profiles match what the petition email extension expects.

You must designate at least the address fields so the extension knows which fields to use for the elected officials lookup.

You can optionally select a field that can be used to hold the email message, providing the signee the option of updating the email message before sending. You will need to create a custom field (that's of a data type of NOTE) - maybe call the field something like CUSTOM MESSAGE - that extends ACTIVITIES of the type PETITION SIGNATURE. Then add this custom field to another profile separate from the Petition Contact info profile you created earlier.

If you don't see any fields listed in these drop down options, ensure that your profile includes the right fields.

Creating an Email Petition screen cast

Send away

When you are ready to go, create a new mailing to send to your outreach group. In the body of the mailing, include a link to the petition signing page (You can find that link by editing your petition and looking for the “Links to sign the petition” section).

You will find two different links here.

The standard link looks something like this:

That's the link you send people who are not in your database, for example, if you are posting to your web site or your social networks.

If you are sending the link by PowerBase mass email, you should use the personalized version, which includes a few extra pieces and looks something like this:{contact.checksum}&cid={contact.contact_id}

If you use this URL, then the contacts information will be pre-filled on the form, making it much easier for them to sign your petition.

Admin Tasks
Collecting and Managing Contact Information