The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

5 Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit Call to Action

Your call to action — where you actually ask somebody to do something — is an essential part of your fundraising venture. Many nonprofits wrongly assume that by creating awareness people will automatically do something. That is just not the case. After all you aren’t taking part in a propaganda campaign; you are taking part in a marketing and fundraising campaign. Here are five steps to can take to improve your call to action.

1. Know and respect your audience.


  • Have a mindset of humility. That means thinking of your audience before yourself.
  • People have limitless options to spend their time and money. It is important to quickly and confidently create a powerful case for why people should donate to you.
  • Honor your audience and respect their time by getting straight to the point, making it easy for them and addressing what they care about.


2. Don’t market the mission. Market a specific action.


  • Reverse the way you think. Focus on how the audience will take in your message in as opposed to how you will get your message out.
  • Start with the audience and what you specifically want them to do. Avoid vague generalities, larger goals and mission statements. Give people something specific to do.


3. Construct your call to action.


  • A good call to action will be all of the following: highly specific, feasible, free of barriers, filmable and first priority.


4. Frame your call of action to answer four questions.


  • Why me? Your audience needs to care about what you are doing. They need to connect to you on a human level. Use pictures, tell stories and do anything that can help your audience relate.
  • Why now? The more specific you can be with how much you need and when you need it by the more credible, compelling and worthy you will seem. Create a sense of urgency and immediacy.
  • What for? Show what specific and tangible result will come from a donation — for the donor and for your programs. People give because they want to do something good, so give assurances that good things will happen due to their donations.
  • Who says? The messenger is often as important as the message. Use trustworthy messengers — people you’ve actually helped or other donors instead of just you. People say friends and family are the most influential in determining where they give money, so also think about how you can get your supporters to speak for you among their own circles of influence.


5. Communicate your call to action.


  • There are three ways to communicate your call to action. Through your website, through email and direct mail and through social media
  • Segment your audience and present personal and unique messages to different groups.
  • Shorter is better in online communications. People tend to scan rather than read, in fact a study shows that changing the words “Read More” to “Continue” dramatically improved response rates. Keep it short and sweet.


Source: Adapted by Jake Emen from Katya Andresen’s Nonprofit 911 Presentation “Crafting Your Call to Action”

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About This Blog

Amanda Khoury
Marketing Manager

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

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