To mobilize policy action, public awareness must be raised and coordinated, complementary actions between diverse sectors and constituencies must be encouraged.

“Public sentiment is everything.  With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.  Consequently he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.  He makes statutes or decisions possible or impossible to be executed.”

–Abraham Lincoln

"Public will campaigns" attempt to mobilize public action for policy change to influence policymakers by mobilizing key groups of constituents to take political action.  They attempt to legitimize or raise the public awareness of a cause as the motivation for policy action or change.

The goal of public will campaigns is to alter the policy potential of a cause in such a way that it moves to a higher priority on the public policymaking agenda.  Agenda-setting is an ongoing competition among issue proponents to gain the attention of media professionals, the public, and policymakers.

Public support of a cause is encouraged through a variety of methods.  Letters or postcards and petitions addressed to political decision-makers, opinion leaders, and the media are common techniques to draw attention to a cause and support for public action.

Online petitioning (e-petitioning) is the most accessible way to mobilize large numbers of activists to support a particular cause.  It is a central tool to express public sentiment and mobilize large collective actions.

Online media may cue traditional news media to cover the cause, which increases the likelihood of individuals signing an e-petition.  The endorsement of specialists and VIPs can also help mobilize public support.

Online petitioning enables the public to participate in policymaking processes, even if public policy theory suggests that the public is generally ignored.  Nevertheless, petitions can be politically consequential – even if ignored by their intended recipients.