You want to inspire website visitors. You want to motivate them. You want them to do something specific. You need a call to action (CTA).

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Calls to action are those snappy little phrases you see around websites driving you to show your support.

There’s a lot that goes into crafting an effective call to action. Design plays a huge role in their success – don’t get me wrong. But, before you can design your call to action, you need the words. You need powerful, compelling words that will inspire people to act.

Fortunately, you know your nonprofit. You know what you need from supporters. But, do you know how to say it effectively in as few as words as possible?

Asking someone to donate is great, but donate what?  You need volunteers, but volunteers for what? The more specific you are about your needs, the more likely you are to drive people take action.

They’re just short little phrases, but trying to come up with compelling calls to action can lead to a terrible case of writer’s block.  Here are 3 tips to help you cure your writer’s block and write your most incredibly effective calls to action yet.

Think Urgent

You want to lead people to take this action now, right? Inspire them to act immediately. Don’t make them feel like waiting is an option.

Water for People does a great job of expressing the immediate need in their descriptor below the call to action. You don’t always need to include words like “now” or “today” to create a sense of urgency. You just need to make people understand the importance of their acting right now, today.

Calls to Action Water for People

Use Actionable Language

It’s referred to as a Call to Action for a reason. “Action” implies you need to use some verbs and strong ones at that. Support, change, act, fight, explore, intervene, react, transform – your options are endless.

I love this one from Living Water International. It’s unique. It answers the question everyone ponders, “How can I make a difference?” They tell you. Invest in the future and help them bring water to families all over world. And, they’re driving you to look further into the different ways you can show your support.

Calls to Action Living Water International

Be Clear and Concise

You don’t have a lot of space. Calls to action are short and sweet. You need to get your point across and quick.

Oxfam America does a fantastic job at this. They took three common calls to action, put their own spin on them, and made them into extremely motivating and inspiring requests for support.

Calls to Action Oxfam

There’s a lot that goes into creating effective call to action phrases, but it all starts with a few powerful words. Hopefully, these tips help you craft calls to action that inform and inspire your supporters. Once you’ve got the hang of it, apply your new skills to social media CTAs, too.

Do you have any tips to add to our list? Do you have any unique calls to action on your nonprofit’s website? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.


  1. What would you say is the best text to put on a button asking someone to sponsor a reader in a Read-a-thon?

    • Hi, Howard. Thanks for commenting! Without knowing the details of the surrounding text, button or the Readathon, coming up with the perfect copy for your situation could be pretty tricky. In general, you’ll want to keep button text short, sweet and actionable. So, if your call to action is something like “Support early childhood education by encouraging young readers,” the button text could then be “Sponsor a Reader.” Try to personalize your content to your event as well as your organization overall. I hope that helps. Good luck!

  2. We are having a fundraiser for Emily’s list and want to have a poster people can write on saying why they are attending. Any thoughts about a headline for the poster?

    • Thanks for commenting, Linda. Without knowing all of the details of the fundraiser, recommending copy can be tough. You’ll likely want to keep any text on the poster short and inspirational, personalizing the content to your event as well as the movement overall. A prompt or fill in the blank could be a nice touch, something along the lines of “Representation matters because…” or “I support progress because…” I hope that’s helpful. Best of luck!