I posted this in another thread, but it certainly seems appropriate here:
Online petitions hold no weight with politicians.
Besides, methods utilized to actually influence politicians are one of the last steps in the process of lobbying. You kind of have to start like:
1) Identifying exact nature of problem (if there is one)
2) Identifying and agreeing on the best solution and several fall back solutions
3) Drafting and preparing the message needed to be delivered to get the desired results
4) Identifying all the means of delivering the message
5) Evaluate and cost the items under 4) above
6) Budget and choose methods to be used (yup they all cost)
7) Allocate resouces (fundraising is a seperate process)
8) Get all leaders fully trained on the message and how to deliver it
9) Draft materials for leave-behinds and other efforts
10) release materials to participants
11) Carefully track, monitor and direct all lobbying efforts.
Let me tell one story out of school. I have been lobbying for OTLA for years. We do all this crap. One day I go to a meeting with a key MPP who we need to influence and he tells me he had a meeting with one of our members who was one of his constituents who told him something a little different than our message and goals. He is all over us about sending mixed messages and having to get our house in order before we can really ask the government to act. It took us months (and some serious coin) to undo the damage he had done.
The lesson to be learned is that discipline is key to lobbying.
If you want to do something RIGHT NOW, the best thing that you can do is start putting together local organizations that maintain some lists of members, real names and addresses, and skills that they can contibute when we need to roll out the message. You can even drink beer and brainstorm and keep notes of your ideas. If we have many local organizations in place with members, communications and funds put together facilitates everything. Then we simply co-op all the local organizations into the larger organization when the time is right and then you already have provincial bodies and local captains ready to work when the message is crafted and ready to deliver. Right now building the grassroots organizations is the right step, not going off half cocked.
That's why an individual who within 36 hours or so of indentifying the "crisis" skips the first ten steps and promises amazing results within a week does not impress me.
When the elephants fight, it is bad for the grass. When the elephants make love, it is also bad for the grass.