Sanford Institute of Philanthropy Blog

Why a Call to Action is Important to Helping Your Donors Out (and How to Use One Properly)

How to Use a Call to Action to Help Your Donors Out
One of the most critical things to know about marketing and writing is that you want processes to be easy for your audience to follow.

If you want readers to view your website or follow your organization on Facebook, providing clear instructions and an easy-to-follow process is important. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing potential readers or donors, which is, of course, not ideal when you want to raise money for your cause.

This is where a call to action comes into play.

A call to action is a simple statement at the end of a particular piece of writing (see the bottom of this article) that clearly and specifically tells your reader what you want them to do next. If you are posting an article on social media, for instance, and want your readers to actually read the article, give them some information that explains why the article might benefit them and end your post with a call to action where you tell your reader to actually read the article. This can be done in a tactful way, of course. Something like, “Check out this article to learn more about writing tips you can implement today” is both friendly and inviting and ensures that your readers know what you would like them to do next.

Why is this so important?

The last thing you want in any situation is to have a donor or potential volunteer say, “Okay, what now?” because there’s a chance that you can lose that donation if they don’t know what to do next. If you provide a reasonable call to action, however, you are taking all the guesswork out of what you want and making it as easy as possible on your audience. If you want them to donate, don’t be afraid to tell them that. If you want them to check out your website or volunteer their time to your organization, let them know. Remember, your readers won’t necessarily be able to automatically assume what you want, and if you want to increase donations, you need to make things as easy as possible for donors, even if the “next step” feels obvious to you.

You can follow this same tactic on other pieces of writing as well. The call to action works well on social media posts, blog articles, event pages, websites, and more. In fact, many marketing systems will even generate a call to action button or link that you can embed into your digital writing pieces (again, see the bottom of this post for an example), so be sure to play around with your marketing management platform if you have one. For those that don’t have that option, you can still use a call to action by ending your writing with a simple statement that is friendly and professional and answers the question, “what now?”


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