As a nonprofit, you’re on a mission, and to accomplish it, you rely on the generosity of those who believe in your cause.
In other words, you need people to give—both time and money. How much you get can be significantly impacted by the way you ask, especially the words that you choose for your CTAs (calls to action).
Whether it’s on your website, in an email, an ad or a social media post, a call to action is the very spot where you ask somebody to do something (e.g., Donate Now, Volunteer, Connect With Us). It could be a button, a hyperlink (linked text, no design), a clickable image—whatever its form or shape, it’s the very place where you want to turn an onlooker or prospect into a donor or volunteer. CTAs are hugely important because they’re where the magic happens; they’re where you grow your cause.
Any successful nonprofit uses clear and effective calls to action in order to move their audience to act, and as easy as it is to fall back on Learn More and Click Here, that language is not the most compelling or effective. Let’s talk about what is.
To create clear CTAs that will actually convert, try writing them with these four tips in mind:
1. Use actionable language.
There’s a reason it’s referred to as a call to action. Action=active. Strong verbs that inspire your visitors, like “feed,” “fight” and “invest” create meaning for your end user—they draw them in to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and they imply that their action is going to make an impact.
A few other good active words: Change. Transform. End (something like hunger or violence). Create. Support. Join. Deliver. Save. Adopt. Give. Provide.
Of course the word “donate” is clear and concise and almost always appropriate when you’re making an ask, but if all your CTAs say “Donate Now,” your org could come across as a little money-hungry. Try branching out and using words that inspire and suggest that your organization is committed to creating meaningful, lasting change, not just empty pockets.
2. Be concise.
You don’t have a lot of space to get your point across, especially if you’re constricted by space (say in a button, an email or a small ad). So, choose your words wisely. When I’m writing CTAs, I like to keep them to two words, maybe three, max. Instead of “Subscribe to Our Monthly Newsletter,” you might say, “Stay Connected” or “Get Updates.” Instead of “Follow Us on Social,” you could simply say “Connect” or “Follow” with your linked social icons below. You want to describe a clear action but in as few words as possible.
The only exception might be if you include a call to action within a piece of content (a blog post or web copy) and use a hyperlink; then you can highlight a phrase or a longer string of words, like we’ve done in previous blogs.
3. Be consistent.
Think through your user flow: If you’re sending someone an email about a new event and you’d like them to “Register Now,” don’t send them to a landing page where the CTA is “Please Donate.” If you run an ad on LinkedIn inviting your audience to “View Webinars,” don’t send them to a landing page with a list of your webinars and a CTA button that asks them to “Sign Up” for your email list.
Wait, what? Make that make sense. To your user, it doesn’t. When you write your CTAs, it’s important to think through the user flow from the first touch all the way through to the thank-you or confirmation page and be sure you’re using words that connect from one touchpoint to the next. If you make the language confusing or inconsistent, people will get nervous/scared/bored and bounce.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask more than once.
If you’re running a fundraising campaign, you should have a call to action on a landing page that asks people to donate—but you don’t have to stop there! You can also include call to action buttons throughout your entire website. Having the same call to action multiple times throughout an appeal can help drive more results. It’s reinforcing and, to the point above, consistent.
The only caveat: Refrain from asking for more money right after someone has just donated. You may ask them to follow you, volunteer, sign up for emails, or attend an event, but keep that “Donate Now” button off your thank-you page and/or thank-you emails—it smacks of greediness and feels a little tone-deaf, as if you view your donors as human ATM machines rather than actual people you want to build a relationship with.
These tips are a good place to start—but there’s so much more that goes into creating landing pages that can legit turn your website into a converting machine. With the right know-how and strategy, you can improve the performance of your landing pages and CTA buttons—and the great news is, we have a webinar for that.
Register for our free webinar, “Convert Supporters with Powerful Landing Pages” to really tap into the power and potential of your website and to improve your conversion rates beyond your highest expectations.