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Nonprofit calls to action essentials: An FAQ guide

June 12, 2021
A woman brainstorms nonprofit calls to action using sticky notes attached to a board.

Any successful nonprofit fundraising campaign leverages calls to action. Your calls to action provide an opportunity to directly ask your audience to do something. For nonprofit organizations, this is usually to donate or volunteer. 

Let’s explore how you can use nonprofit calls to action to inspire more meaningful support for your cause.

What are nonprofit calls to action?

Nonprofit calls to action are one-to-six-word statements prompting the reader to complete a certain action. They can come in the form of buttons, lines of text, or links. You can include them on your printed and online marketing materials, website, and social media platforms to inspire action from your supporters.

Why do nonprofit calls to action matter?

Short but strong statements that encourage donors to act now can get your point across more effectively than a long donation appeal. 

With a brief and urgent call to action, you can grab your audience’s attention and guide your supporters to make a donation as quickly and easily as possible. Plus, calls to action make a strong send-off to your donation letters and other marketing materials, telling supporters exactly how to act on what they just read.

How do you make effective nonprofit calls to action?

Your call to action’s beauty is in its simplicity: you mainly need to remind donors what they should do, highlight the action’s impact, and instill a sense of urgency. 

Keep these tips in mind while crafting your nonprofit calls to action:

  • Use clear terms to avoid confusion. Make your calls to action understandable for audiences unfamiliar with your campaign by using simple, actionable verbs like “donate,” “give,” and “volunteer.” Avoid jargon, acronyms, and ambiguous words like “support.” 
  • Tie your call to action to the donation’s impact. What will happen if a donor makes a contribution? What will happen if they don’t act? Let donors know in your call to action. For instance, you could say “Donate to save a life today” to emphasize the impact of the donation.
  • Instill a sense of urgency. Use deadlines and words like “now” and “today” to encourage donors to take action immediately. Be strategic with where you use these words. Adding them to a donation button can encourage supporters to promptly take action, but including them in an email subject line may result in your message getting marked as spam.
  • Standardize your branding. Your call to action should include terms and slogans that match the message you’re sending in your appeals, on your website, and in other outreach materials.

The most effective calls to action allow donors to visualize exactly what they’re supposed to do next. For example, if you’re raising money to address food insecurity, your call to action could say, “Donate to End Childhood Hunger Today.”

How do you optimize your website with nonprofit calls to action?

Ensure donors can easily lend their support by featuring calls to action throughout your nonprofit website. Here are some tips for an effective online call to action:

  • Use ranking keywords. Google decides which pages rank higher on the search results page based on how they leverage relevant search terms known as keywords. If your call to action includes the exact words your supporters are searching for, you’re likely to rank higher and gain more visibility.
  • Make it skimmable. Most users visiting your page won’t read every single word. To accommodate online visitors looking for information quickly, make your call to action skimmable by using active language.
  • Include a clickable banner. An eye-catching virtual banner featuring your call to action will help your appeal stand off the page. You can create a clickable banner or button such as the image below in your CMS, then add it to the navigation bar of your website. Embed a link into the image to lead your donors straight to your donation page, volunteer sign-up sheet, or event registration form.

Image removed.

When adding calls to action to your website, make sure you remove all barriers to action. Guide donors directly to your digital fundraising page with one click, so they can easily take the actions needed to fulfill your nonprofit’s purpose. 

Optimizing your calls to action

In just a few words, calls to action can make a major difference for your nonprofit organization. Work with your team to write direct, specific, and accessible appeals that drive donations and help you achieve your goals. Then, use metrics like click-through rates to determine their effectiveness and improve your call-to-action strategy for the future.

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