Communications – Calls to Action

How does this happen? The message needs to be communicated in formats and in language that is understood and has not just an intellectual impact but also an emotional and immediate impact. There needs to be included “Calls To Action” that give people things they can do to be involved and to make a difference.

Plan for the Future
Plan for the Future

I was attending the International Water Conference this past week and there was much useful information on the situation of water in the world – groundwater, access to water, water infrastructure, conflicts over water. Attendees were international delegates from governments, academic institutions, scientists and NGOs involved with water.

At so many of the sessions the information was vital and timely – and needs to be known by the policy makers and citizens. How does this happen? The message needs to be communicated in formats and in language that is understood and has not just an intellectual impact but also an emotional and immediate impact. There needs to be included “Calls To Action” that give people things they can do to be involved and to make a difference.

This same challenge exists for any nonprofits and social action projects that want to get the word out to raise awareness, to motivate, to promote a cause, to build momentum, to get people on board, to raise funds to support a cause, to get people to volunteer, to engage people as activists, to educate and inform, to inform the press and media and politicians, policy makers, citizens and children.

There are 2 great methods that we have to make this happen.
The Internet – including website, email, and social networking and building traffic and interaction.
Film and media – which can show vivid stories and illustrate a situation with its challenges and move people to action.

Both of these are inter-related. Films are not accessible via the Internet and can reach a broad global audience and are an essential method for bringing a problem to view with a lot of impact. Look at your communications strategy and evaluate it to see that it has a strong “Call to Action” and that it speaks to your stakeholders and target audiences.

Donations – Wikipedia Example

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a popular Internet information resource that is built on interaction and input from subject experts and people knowledgeable of specific topics.  It is a collaborative environment and built on participation and self-editing.

Wikipedia setup a nonprofit foundation – Wikimedia Foundation which is “a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge”.  Their online donations have a few interesting ideas that provide useful lessons and ideas for other nonprofits that want to develop online donations.

The unique method uses PayPal as a method of payment processing. When the person donates they have the option of adding a comment – and selecting to make their donation anonymous or not.  If you look at the Donor Comments page you will see names, comments amounts and currency for each of the donors.  If you make a donation yourself – you will almost immediately see your name appear on the list.  This is one of the very transparent methods they have for acknowledging and thanking their donors.  It also gives a very human and engaging way to involve and encourage donations. The other key is that they use a variety of payment options including by check and mail in.

An effective website – some key points

Caliornia PoppiesUsing your website successfully and effectively to achieve your organization objectives involves several key points:

  • Your website must have a professional, credible look that is appropriate to the needs of your target audiences. The content must be updated regularly, and the website should be easy to navigate.
  • You must bring visitors to your website – and encourage them to return often. This can be with a variety of methods ranging from having your website URL on all of your printed materials, announcing the website at your events and in interviews, registering the website with search engines, and using email signatures and an email newsletter or announcements.
  • Add tracking statistics and strong “Call to Action” links on your website so that you can see what is happening on the website and evaluate if the website is helping you achieve your objectives.

Click on this link to download a guide to evaluating your current website.

Guide to Evaluating your Website