If you tuned into the Presidential debates this past Fall you may have caught the one moderated by CNN personality Candy Crowley. Remarkably, it was the first presidential debate moderated by a female in 20 years. Wonder how that dry spell ended? Because of a petition created at Change.org.

Debate organizers were influenced by three Montclair, N.J. high school students, who, inspired by a civics class, were able to sign up more than 180,000 supporters for their online petition.

30 Million Signatures

Major victories like these have drawn more than 30 million people to endorse petitions at Change.org, a figure that’s growing at a blistering pace of 2 million each month.

Jennifer Dulski

, who left Google this past month to become the organization’s President and COO, tells me that her biggest priority is making sure Change.org has a fast, stable platform and to make it easier for people to create and sign petitions.

One of the biggest challenges of finding innovative new ways of doing things is monetization, and that’s where Change.org shines. The company has in effect become a marketing machine for mostly non-profit organizations. It has also boosted its beneficial standing by becoming a certified B Corp.

Change.org is designed to make creating petitions easy, and features selected petitions on its home page.

Future Changes

The way Change.org works is simple. Anyone can start a petition for free, but qualified organizations can send sponsored petitions to specific Change.org members by paying a premium. “Every package is custom built for each sponsor,” Dulski says, adding that “we have people in house who know how to make petitions stronger.”

The future for sponsored Change.org petitioners seems bright. Dulski promises that the company is “going to develop a great analytics platform for sponsors, so we’re able to better reach the kind of people who are passionate about their causes.”

One recent victory had 200,000 Gatorade consumers using Change.org to demand the removal of the controversial ingredient BVO from its product bottles. Gatorade removed the ingredient, scoring a victory for the 15-year-old Mississippi teenager who started the petition.

International Action

While most of its biggest victories have been in the U.S., Change.org has become a global phenomenon. “We have staff in 18 countries,” notes Dulski. A perfect example of that global power was the petition calling for Malala Yyousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot for advocating female education, to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. This petition, posted by Tarek Fatah of Toronto, has gained more than 287,000 supporters.

With influence comes power that translates into more galvanizing events – and that, in turn, attracts even more users. Do you have an innovation that could use the gravy train of a complementary business? Can you leverage the Time Compression Ubertrend to create a service that helps consumers save time? I’m ready to file my petition to help America become more innovative.