We just finished our Creating Your Donor Communications Plan Master Class and we kicked things off by talking about getting your messaging right. The #1 question to ask yourself in order to do that is: What’s my call to action?

But what if you have various staff members arguing about what you should ask supporters to do in your newsletter or on social media? Should you ask your followers to do ten different things in one email or post? Of course not!

You have to prioritize your call to action.

If you give your supporters too many choices, they won’t do any of them. They are tired. They are in a hurry. And they probably have decision fatigue already. They don’t need to wade through your muddled messaging to find what they think is important. Show them what is important.

Not prioritizing your calls to action can also lead to your staff members feeling like they have to play politics to get included. This can have a disastrous effect on what may already be a complicated team culture at your organization.

Start prioritizing by limiting the number of topics you’ll focus on in your communications channels at once (e.g. three major programs in a month). Certain programs take priority during different times. Map this out using an editorial calendar and the Big Picture Communications Timeline.

Having a clear, documented plan will let your program and other staff know they are important and their voices will be heard. Just maybe not this week.

Then there is the problem of vague calls to action like:

  • Help
  • Support
  • Participate
  • Engage
  • Believe
  • Understand
  • Be proactive
  • Work with you
  • Collaborate
  • Buy in
  • Promote
  • Share
  • Educate
  • Network
  • Connect
  • Partner

Get five people in a room and ask them to do any of those calls to action and you’ll see five people doing five different things. They are simply too vague and open to interpretation. If you want people to do something, you have to be clear and specific about what that thing is and how they should do it.

Instead of “help” and “support,” get more specific, like:

  • Donate online
  • Donate $50
  • Volunteer one hour a week
  • RSVP for our training
  • Ask a friend to serve on the committee
  • Call your representative

When those don’t work, focus on results:

  • Feed a family
  • Rescue 10 kittens
  • Find a cure

If you have too many different specific calls to action, pick what you consider to be the “starter” calls to action or the most popular ones (not necessarily asks for money) and emphasize those first. Then you can talk about the other ways to help once you have their attention.

But, remember, don’t give them too many choices! Pairing one hard ask (e.g., donate, volunteer, advocate) with one soft ask (e.g., take a poll, share on Facebook) often works best.

Published On: October 18, 2022|Categories: Creating Relevant and Engaging Messaging|