Better Call to Action (CTAs) Guides People’s Next Steps

3 min read
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Why do people not act after engaging with your stories or other content? Your message was clear and inviting, but there was slim action. It's not your message but the effectiveness of your call to action (CTA). Compelling nonprofit call-to-actions is crucial for turning engagement into concrete social and environmental change.

Relationship Building is the Key to Effective Call to Action for Nonprofits

The goal is to move your audience beyond passive consumption to inspire concrete actions contributing to social and environmental change.

Consider your relationship with your audience like a dating journey—even if you're married. Yes, stick with this analogy. Organizations often make the mistake of jumping straight to 'donate now' while still in the 'getting to know you' phase.

You need a compelling call to action that deepens trust and guides the audience toward the desired outcome.

Think of Tom's Shoes—they matched each purchase with a donation, not just telling people to buy shoes but showing them how their purchase matters. Various stages of relationships require different approaches to deepen trust.

To create a more effective CTA for your nonprofit, consider the relational stage you're at with your audience.

Designing Your Call to Action

You're not just a nonprofit but a guide to your audience. When you offer a generic call to action like "visit our website to learn more," it puts the work on them. Use this simple framework for designing effective calls to actions:

01. Provide Clear Next Steps

Remember, these steps depend on your relationship stage with the audience.

  1. Immediate Next Step: Something easy, like clicking a link to watch another video.
  2. Secondary Step: Requires more effort, like reading a medium-length article.
  3. Third Step: Something challenging requires real commitment, like donating time or money.

02. Consider the Channel of Your Calls to Action

The channel where you present your message can significantly affect the effectiveness of your call to action.

For example, if you're using a broad platform like YouTube, consider that the audience needs to be primed for immediate high-level action, such as signing a petition or donating.

Tailor your call to action to fit the readiness and interests of the viewers on each specific platform.

03 Add New Layers to the Conversation

After someone donates, you could offer donors a thank you video or brand film to engage further with your cause. You may even need to create a new page with detailed information about your initiatives. It's all about deepening trust at every stage.

What The Custodians (film) Got Wrong

Take the film The Custodians, which explores the impacts of bottom trawling on the environment. While the film was informative, the call to action—to sign a petition—may have been a leap too far for many viewers, especially those coming across it on a diverse platform like YouTube.

A compelling CTA must consider "the ask" where the audience is in their relationship with you and the platform they're engaging with your content.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the effectiveness of calls to action is more than just clear and specific; they're attuned to the audience's readiness to take that action.

The focus is to create an effective call to action for your nonprofit by building relational pathways that deepen trust at every stage and tailoring your approach to fit your audience's readiness and the platform's nature.

Visit our insights page for more storytelling tips to boost your engagement.

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