The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Make ONE—and Only ONE—Call to Action (Case Study)

Remember when you were 15 and your mother would tell you to clean up your room, call your grandmother, and come down to dinner all within the same five minutes?

Remember how frustrating that was? How even if you wanted to do everything your mom asked—not every teen’s desire, for sure—there was no way you could, so you just didn’t do anything at all.

I was thrown back there when someone handed me this card during a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I think you’ll see what I mean:

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Count the calls to action featured on this small postcard:

  1. Share your memories and photos online, tagged with #Met145. Or is it @metmuseum?
  2. Celebrate with a 145th anniversary cocktail, dessert, or menu.
  3. Donate at this extremely long URL to build the future of the Met.

By presenting three calls to action and two ways to approach one of them, the Met confuses us—or at least me—rather than spurring us to act. And it’s frustrating! Assuming we want to support the museum’s mission, we don’t know which action is the priority.

As much as I admire the Met’s marketing finesse and programmatic commitment and love visiting its provocative, refreshing galleries and special exhibits, this card campaign could be easily improved by reducing it to just one call to action.

Most important, I urge you to use this example as motivation to review your organization’s calls to action. Ask people to take just one action at a time, because that’s all any of us can take. Put these individual calls to action together in a series, like steps in a staircase, to create the bigger action your organization wants. It works!


What are your challenges in crafting calls to action that engage your people and motivate them to act? Please share them in the comments section and I’ll respond. Thank you.

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About This Blog

Liz Ragland
Senior Associate, Marketing and Content

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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