How Nonprofits Can Create Great Calls to Action

Call to Action buttons (for the purpose of this article, we will call them buttons) are crucial to directing your email recipients’ attention. Believe it or not, it takes more than simply placing a button or link on the bottom of your page to get a supporter to take the action you’d like them to take. In this post, we’ll discuss the proper way to design your buttons, how to dynamically populate the content of your buttons, and how to test those buttons to ensure you’re giving the organization the best chance at increasing support.

The Design of Your Button

The design, placement, and content of your buttons are very important. The point of a button is to provide your supporter with the appropriate next steps; the best way to do this is by properly designing your template with the right color, placement, and word choice to nudge them towards the engagement your organization needs.

  1. Color: Use bold, contrasting colors. You want your button to stand out from the rest of the email.  Choose a color that stands out against the background. So if you have a white background, use a dark color (blue, red, etc.) for your button. This will make your button pop and will catch the attention of the reader within the first couple seconds.
  2. Placement: To make your button stand out even more, position it where there is plenty of whitespace. You don’t want to surround your button with a bunch of text; this will just cause your button to become lost. Place your button before the fold, so supporters won’t have to scroll to find it.
  3. Word Choice: To effectively encourage your supporter to perform a particular action, you have to make it clear what action you want them to perform, hence the name Call to Action. The words you choose for your buttons should be short and direct. For example, if you want someone to donate you might want to use:
    • Donate
    • Contribute
    • Donate $50
    • Support us
    • Give today

Dynamic Content

We suggest that you dynamically populate content relative to each supporter when creating your buttons. This can be done with information on your supporter’s past donations and activity. If they’ve previously given $5, maybe incorporate a button with the amount of $10.

A/B Test Everything

To zero in on what works best for your organization, we recommend testing most things in your email including subject lines, content and even calls to action. Testing location of the button, the amount you’re asking for, or the target group you’re asking can help you to continuously improve your email performance. (Learn More)


By properly designing your template, using dynamic content, and testing everything you send you’ll be able to improve on the number of donations you receive, generate a higher number of responses from your volunteers, and continue to build more engagement overall. Along with your great content, being strategic and intentional about how you ask your supporters to engage with you will help you raise more money from individual donors and continue to build and maintain an active group of supporters.

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