If the subject line of this email confused you, it ought to. It's hard to know what phrases like "Stand With Us" mean or where the euphemistic "Learn More" button will lead - especially when used as a call-to-action (CTA) in fundraising emails.

Vague CTAs are everywhere. Perhaps because appeal writers are often trying to come up with more creative and intriguing (maybe even "classier"?) ways to get readers to click over to their donation pages. But, no matter how they spin it, they are all essentially saying the same thing: give us your money.

A bit of mystery can be helpful sometimes. In email subject lines, for instance, a sneak peak or allusion to what's inside can really boost open rates. And, vague CTAs, like the ones in today's subject line, can even cause click rates to go up. 

But, what cryptic language in CTAs doesn't do, as shown in various experiments, is lead to more donations.  Check out this test:

Unclear phrases may lead people to want to see what's next, but once they get there, they're less likely to follow through. In this case, "Stand With Us" led to 91% more clicks but 50% less conversions as compared to "Make a Gift." 

Clicks don't pay the bills.

Remember: vague CTAs aren't fooling anyone. And, chances are, they're probably confusing would-be donors. If the point of your letter is to get readers to make a donation, tell them so.   

Let people know what you need them to do in order to support your mission and don't mince words. Next time you send a donation request with a CTA, try sticking to these crystal-clear, straightforward, and transparent phrases. 

  1. Give Now
  2. Donate Today
  3. Donate Now
  4. Show Your Support by Giving Today

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