PoliCAT - Multilingual Petitions

PoliCAT has some awesome features

It's made for campaigners & easy to use.

Made to campaign across languages and countries. Best tool to target EU institutions.

Made for networks and coalitions. Spreads virally.

Gives you full control over your data. Respects activists' privacy.

Technical basics




Frequently asked questions:

Can I install PoliCAT on my own server?

Policat.org is software as a service. There is no need to install anything on your server. To embed a widget onto your website, you only need to add one single line of code (html/javascript) where the action form should appear.

Policat.org is based on the open-source, non-commercial software PoliCAT. PoliCAT is in beta-stage as it is developed further. Please contact us to obtain the source-code and install it on your server. We are happy to offer installation and maintenance services. Find PoliCAT on git.hub.

How can I help to improve Policat?

We very much appreciate your help in advancing this exiting open source project.

Please get in contact with us (Daniel Pentzlin-Kordecki at PoliCAT UG). Please understand that we did not have sufficient resources yet to provide good source-code documentation.

Tech-specs: Policat is a stand-alone tool built on the Symfony framework (PHP/mySQL). It requires an Apache environment, Symfony, an Email-Server and SSL-encryption.

What's the story of PoliCAT?

In 2009, Daniel was working as campaigner for the European office of the environmental network Friends of the Earth (FoEE), I had to run three different petitions for each one broad civil society coalition. They had to be set up in various languages, and feature on the websites of FoEE's partners. I had little budget and time, and no existing infrastructure.

So I asked German software company Webvariants GmbH & Co KG for help. Together, we developed a simple, intuitive petition builder: PoliCAT. "Poli" for political, and for greek: 'the many', "CAT" for 'cyber action tool', and because kittens are fun. Since then, it became a powerful, feature-rich platform for online campaigning. In 2017, Daniel and Christian founded the company PoliCAT UG in order to provide a clear legal home for PoliCAT.

What makes PoliCAT so special?

The key feature is that petitions can go literally viral on the web. Anyone with a blog or website can simply generate their own widget and host a petition on their own websites. We call it: “to embed an e-action widget”. Why is that?

You can bring the whole e-action onto your own website, by “embedding” it like a youtube video. The e-action comes in a box, like a little gadget in a window, in short, a widget. It will be your own little widget, very much unlike a banner or a link.

The whole e-action workflow will happen inside your widget: it will display a e-action text, a background text and links to the privacy policy, facebook and twitter; and there will be the sign-on form, once an online activist filled it in, it will say “thanks for taking part in the action” and offer to send a tell-a-friend email. Your online-activists will stay on your site.

Policat is multilingual. One e-action can be addressed to diverse political targets at various international and/or national policy targets. People will sign on to the same key message – however you may decide to target your national head of state or finance minister. In fact you should adapt the narrative of our joint e-action to your national and cultural context.

When creating your widget and embedding it into your website, you may change almost all texts that will be displayed in your widget (the title, a by-line, the background text…). You may even add specific demands to our main message that have specific relevance to your policy target or that make sense otherwise in your national context. Only the “core” e-action text stays the same to ensure conformity.

Also, you can adapt the appearance of your widget to the look and feel of your website. Thus, you can integrate it seamlessly into your web-pages. By adapting language, text and design and making sure it fits into your messaging and targets your specific policy target, you can make it your own e-action whilst at the same time being part of our joint e-action. The signature-counter in your widget will always display the over-all count of all signatures collected world-wide.

Activists will take part in the e-action on your very website, in which you embed your widget. Thus, the system allows us to run our joint e-action with maximum flexibility and without the need for a joint dedicated campaign website.

Now, start an e-action and embed it into your website!

Why widgets? Why not the same text, look and feel for all?

A campaign is most effective when it is tailor-made for very specific target groups. For instance, our joint e-action is interesting for both social, environmental and aid organisations. We obviously would like to use different stories to link the issue to our specific campaign narratives and emphasise the urgency to tackle our specific issues. The same accounts for organisations in different countries: there are different stories to tell in e.g. the UK and Greece.

As civil society , we have plenty of policy targets on all national, regional and international levels. We have different specific demands to these various policy targets. A wider audience, the supporters and constituents of our causes, are as diverse in language, culture and motivation.

There’s need and good reason to join forces via a joint global e-action: only that will make a really impressive number of signatures possible. Thus, NGO coalitions and individuals need to be able to join forces in one e-action, while adapting its content, tone and design to their specific audiences and policy targets.

With the widgets, every campaign partner can set up his own widgets and integrate it into his different website.