May 10, 2018

Creating Effective Calls to Action

At the end of almost every nonprofit communication, we appeal to our listeners and readers to take action. How can you make your calls to action compelling so you gather more money and resources for your nonprofit?

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Hello, I’m Karen Eber Davis, and I want to talk about calls to action. I’m going to do this thing you are sending out lots of communications. You’re asking people to come to your events. You are asking them to read more, to volunteer, to donate. Are you giving them a clear call to action? There’s definitely some science and research behind this.

Ask for One Action

For one thing, the research and science say is we should ask people to do one predominant thing. That is, I want you to sign things a bit, but also I have found that very slowly you can offer some options and that is, for instance, sign up for the event gear, but if you want more, email me here or check out my website here. So you can have a bit about predominant what do you want them to do but also some other options for those who rebel in your listening but when you’re reading that when you’re seeing it.

Simple and Easy

The second thing that makes sense to do is to make it really simple how many times have you clicked on the link because you want to go to an event. It brings you to a generic page, and you have no idea how to sign up for that puppy, so what you want to do is make sure that you get people as far as you can into where they need to do to register. It’s really clear once they get there.

If they’re like most of us, they’re in a hurry. They’re willing to help, willing to sign up, willing to do what you’re asking, but you got to make it really easy following through on that. Easiness is clarity, and that is the sense of, I only want a few more things from you. What we’re seeing now in the field is this a request for an email and a first name at the first initial graph, and everything else waits until later.


So if you want to have a call to action that’s effective, make sure you’re asking folks to do only one thing. Make sure when they do it, they get where you want them to go and ask them for very little so they can just get it done, off the list, and get started with you. Always follow up later, more stuff that you need, but make it work for them, not for you.

I’m Karen Eber Davis. There is more on my website, which I’ll be showing in this place in a second.

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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