Tip: Could your petition title be better? Here are six examples of great titles.
Every month, I round up a collection of Care2’s proudest, most memorable petition victories and I send it out as a news blast to keep all our activist members updated on what our community is accomplishing. In looking through these petitions, I always notice some strong similarities — common elements that help petitions become successful. And I thought I’d share a few of those observations with you today!
So if you’re wondering, “What helps to really make successful petitions stand out? What is it about them that makes people want to sign and share them?” then you’re in the right place!
There are several things that make a great petition, but one of the most important things to consider is your title. (You may also want to check out this post about telling your personal story, and this post about choosing an evocative photo.) Your title is important because first impressions matter. It’s the first thing anyone will see about your petition.
Your title should:
- Grab readers’ attention (so they don’t just scroll on by)
- Quickly communicate what your petition is about, in order to interest people
- State your case with bold, firm, strong language
- Be action-oriented
But it’s worth also mentioning what your title shouldn’t be or do. Your title shouldn’t:
- Equivocate. This is your rallying cry! Use it.
- Go on forever or be a run-on sentence. Keep it short, clear, and concise
- Be a headline. You should use your title as a “call to action,” not a statement of fact. So, instead of writing “Trump is wrong about climate change!” write “Tell Trump He’s Wrong About Climate Change!”
Okay, now that we’ve gone over what a good title is and isn’t, it’s time to show you what I’m talking about! Here are six examples of great petition titles – taken from some of Care2’s favorite successful petitions.
Save Diggy! Lift the Pitbull Ban in Waterford, MI
- This title gives us just enough information about what this petition is about to pique our interest. There’s a problem with the pitbull ban in Waterford Michigan, and as a result, Diggy needs to be saved. We don’t know much more, but that’s enough to get us to read more.
- Sharing the dog’s name – Diggy – is incredibly powerful. We react much more emotionally when we hear a name, or know that an individual being is impacted. View Diggy’s petition here.
Demand That MetLife Hold New York Blood Center Accountable for 67 Abandoned Chimps
- This headline starts right off with a really strong verb: “Demand.” We know right away that this petition means business, and something serious is happening that needs addressing.
- In just one sentence, we also get a really great summary of the whole petition. What do we want? MetLife to hold the NY Blood Center accountable for 67 abandoned chimps. When do we want it? Now! Check out the MetLife petition.
Take Action to Free Concordia University Professor Homa Hoodfar from Iranian Prison
- Whoa! That’s my first reaction when I read this headline. A university professor is in an Iranian prison?! For a second I don’t believe it, and then I’m outraged, and then I want to read more and sign. What about you? See this petition here.
Rhode Island: Don’t Kill Cliff the Coyote!
- One of the really great things about this petition title is that it calls out the region where the problem is occurring, which puts regional officials in the hot seat. If you were a person in a position of authority in Rhode Island, this would make you look twice, wouldn’t it?
- As in the Diggy example, this title shares Cliff’s name. This makes him not just any coyote, but one particular, special coyote that needs saving.
- By writing “don’t kill” the coyote, the petition author causes an instant emotional reaction in any readers. After all, who is okay with a person or animal being killed? This phrase alone will attract signers. View the petition to save Cliff.
Stop shooting foxes on Moseley Golf Course
- Like in the MetLife example, here we immediately know what the petition is about. There are foxes being shot on the Moseley Golf Course. Anyone who’s opposed to foxes being shot will probably click to read more about this petition and maybe sign.
- It also uses a really strong verb: “Stop.” This helps us know what action needs to be taken. See the petition for yourself.
Benlliure High School of Valencia (Spain): let Takwa attend classes wearing a hijab
- Again, the petition author here evokes our compassion by using Takwa’s name to create a personal connection.
- The author also makes it clear that the Benlliure school has refused to let Takwa attend classes – but he words it in such a way that it’s positive. Instead of “stop refusing to let her wear a hijab,” the author writes “let her attend classes.” He’s offering a solution, rather than just trying to negate the bad situation.
- We know who the culprit is here: it’s the school. They’ve prevented Takwa from earning an education, and we know that we have to direct our comments and signatures toward them. This also helps give us context to the story. Check out the petition.
Have any questions about what else makes a title stand out? Share them in the comments and we could write a special post just to address your question!
Itching to get some specific advice?
If you want further advice on how to reach out to decision-makers, how to get signatures, or how to generally make your petition better, check out our Activist University forum on Facebook. Our community of grassroots advocates and do-good trouble-makers will be excited to help answer your questions and help you make your petition as powerful as possible.