While working on a blog post earlier in the week, I read an article about a tragedy not far from where my nieces live. A 6-year-old little girl, Alanna Gallagher, was killed and discarded on a quiet neighborhood street. A few miles down the road, like Alanna, my niece Alyssa could have been found riding her scooter and playing at the homes of neighbors. For whatever reason, I felt inspired to act. Perhaps it is because I am a mom and an aunt to three nieces. Or, perhaps when tragedies strike children, little Alanna becomes everyone’s child.
Also inspired by this tragedy, neighbors and businesses are wearing or displaying purple ribbons, representing Alanna’s favorite color and showing support for her family. But more importantly, they hope to raise awareness of the crime and encourage anyone who saw something or knows something to report it to police. While neighbors could not save Alanna, they can seek justice for her. This is their call to action.
Tragedies are a great opportunity for calling volunteers to act. The storms in Moore, OK a few months ago are a great example. Earned media repeatedly featured victims and damage in real-time video to viewers nationwide. This is great for fundraising, rallying the troops, and helping those in need. But how many of us are working on causes, to make a difference in the everyday lives of others? Typically, we do not have the advantage of a fantastic news story to compel large funders or attract volunteers. Yet, what we do is so very important.
Fired Up Fundraising blogger, Gail Perry suggests there is “little passion or energy in so much nonprofit language.” In a survey of her readers, the most common overused words include “underserved, programs and services.” How many of us can relate to using this language, over and over again? The very lifeblood of the organization depends on passionate, emotion evoking, and energetic language. So, our calls to action must get the attention of volunteers or donors and compel them to act! TODAY!
Kivi Leroux Miller of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com shares a solution, “if you want people to do something, you have to be clear and specific about what that thing is and how they should do it.” Volunteer to clean the parkway on Saturday. Donate a new child’s backpack. Feed a sheltered animal for one month. Find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. These are clear, specific calls to action.
Responding to a call for action, our family has committed to helping foster children. A local business, the Sleep Train, supports various organizations supporting foster agencies in our region. Through various campaigns, the company raises awareness of the needs of foster children and provides opportunities for people to donate items such as pajamas, shoes, backpacks, money, etc. While we cannot do anything to help little Alanna, we can help children in crisis here in our community. You can do the same.
What calls to action have you found compelling? Make YOUR difference in the world…Volunteer!