In its early days, the Internet promised to give ordinary people the power to create extraordinary change. But almost two decades later, very little has changed in how we make ourselves heard to people in power. We have to ask ourselves, has that promise been realized? As citizens, we can “share our voice,” but are we heard? Are our voices impacting the decisions that affect our lives?
Here we are, in an era of unprecedented transparency and connectedness, yet it can feel like our elected officials are more inscrutable and distant than ever.
At Change.org, as our nearly 50 million users create more than 1,500 new petitions to decision makers in government and business every day, we see the need up close for a fundamental transformation of the way constituents engage with their elected officials online. We need to make online advocacy more transparent, more direct, and, most importantly, more effective.
That’s why we’re excited to announce Change.org for Decision Makers, a new toolset that allows verified decision makers in government (and soon, companies) to respond directly and publicly to petitions sent by their constituents. Simultaneously, Change.org users can access new public profile pages for each verified decision maker and see immediately which issues other people want answered.
Elected leaders like Representative Paul Ryan, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee are leading the way as an example for others, having already signed up for Change.org for Decision Makers in order to respond to their constituents. Elected leaders at all levels of government will be following in the coming weeks.
Change.org for Decision Makers shines a spotlight on the parts of the petition previously hidden from view. Petitions will be continue to be fully public, meaning that as a user, you’ll always know who started a petition and how many other people have signed on. But now, responses from verified decision makers will also be public and shared with petition signers, who’ll have the chance to comment back and continue the conversation.
Finally, public profiles for verified decision makers will make clear which leaders are responding and which aren’t, adding an important layer of accountability.
Gone are the days when people talked at elected officials, hoping for a response. With Change.org for Decision Makers, ordinary people can talk with decision makers to bring about solutions that matter. Get ready – this is a game changer.