A Call to Action

Robin Noah

When I started coaching in the nonprofit arena I was overwhelmed by a myriad of terms and acronyms, etc. One of my favorite statements was, and is “a call to action”.  I find this to be universal. I also found that when you ask you have a better chance to get.

In the nonprofit world the “call” is usually to donate money. You see it on all types of communications. Sometimes that turns people off.

People can easily feel like their only value to a nonprofit is in giving money. While that is most important, how about offering donors another option – a way to take action that will help the organization without donating money. People like to help, especially when they believe in the work the organization is doing. They want to know where their donations go, what is being accomplished and how it relates to the mission. The audience needs to care about what you are doing. 

A call to action prompts people to question whether or not they will take the next step.  When the appeal is compelling, obvious and highly visible it catches the audience’s attention and motivates them to take that next step.


PURPOSE: Create a sense of purpose in the asking. Give a picture of how the contribution promotes services offered by the organization.

The audience needs to care about what you are doing. Show them why and what you’re doing is personally relevant to them. They need to connect to you on a human level.

TELL STORIES: People like human interest stories and success stories, how other donors made an impact or how donors impacted other individuals in need.

BE SPECIFIC:  Be specific regarding the action you want the audience to take. Is it to donate money, to join the organization, a membership issue or help needed for a specific event?  Tell how much time you want from each volunteer? Give the details.  People tend to act on what they believe they can change.

THE CONTACT: “Contact us for more information” is a turn off.  Give the HOW, WHAT, WHEN and WHY for the desired action.

Author: Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org