Nonprofits distribute a wide range of content on social media, from photos, video and infographics to invitations, reports and blogs. Regardless of whether you’re looking to educate, inspire or raise money, perfecting your social media call to action will help make sure that your content converts followers into something more.

A strong call to action (CTA) moves people from passive reading to taking the next step with a click, comment or share. But to achieve this, you’ll need to offer them a clear direction. On Facebook, nonprofits have the option of adding a CTA button to their pages such as Donate Now, Contact Us, Sign Up or Shop. But why stop there? Sometimes you’ll want people to share a story, sponsor a student, tag a friend or take a survey. Every piece of content offers a unique way to ask for action.

So how do you create a CTA that leads to a sign up, volunteer, RSVP, donor or advocate? We put together a few quick writing, design and distribution tips to help your nonprofit break out of the mold and create a better social media call to action.

Writing Your Social Media Call to Action

When it comes to text, each social media channel has different ideal lengths. But none of them are more than a sentence or two!

  • Include only the most important details
  • Put an emphasis on action and urgency
  • Be stingy with hashtags, which can eat up character counts

Most importantly, craft your message based on the value that your follower will receive by taking action. “Sign up for newsletters” turns into “Get the latest resources for hunger and homelessness by signing up for monthly email updates.” The National Park Foundation has a good example in the copy and graphic of this Facebook post.

social media call to action newsletter

Designing Your Social Media Call to Action

Social media posts do better when they include images AND when those images are optimized for specific channels. But don’t let the design of your social media call to action get you down! Free online services like Canva offer an easy way to make great graphics with the correct dimensions that you’ll need for different channels. Use Canva’s tutorials to discover simple design tips for using backgrounds with text, choosing a layout, and photo editing.

In all of the fun, don’t forget to keep an eye on branding. Follow your organization’s style guidelines (sticking to consistent fonts and colors) and include your name or logo. See how Oceana combines their brand, a vibrant photo, sense of urgency and value in this tweet. I really like how they turned a call to action about t-shirts into a message that basically says “We’ll help you show others what you’re all about.”

social media call to action shop

Distributing Your Social Media Call to Action

In addition to reaching people through your news feed, try posting the call to action in other places. For example, design a header image for Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Here’s one that the National Wildlife Federation made to promote taking a pledge and a butterfly garden starter kit. If you’re feeling adventurous:

  • Ask top supporters, partners and influencers to share your message and image
  • Include shareable images on web pages related to your special campaign, event or offer
  • Share your image in marketing emails with a prompt to spread the word

social media call to action download

When you add a strong call to action to your social media posts, your nonprofit opens the door for more meaningful interaction with your target audiences. Pay attention to the length and substance of your text and take the next step by creating accompanying visuals. Then you’ll be ready to motivate your followers across the web!

How are you asking for support and engagement in a social media call to action? What kinds of online content have created off-line supporters for your nonprofit? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.