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No matter how good your message is, you are in BIG trouble if you forget this one thing…

This morning my heart melted after reading an email.

Quick backstory…

A couple years ago, my wife and I adopted a little boy from South Africa. His name is Samkelo (Sam for short). He’s amazing and after two years, we couldn’t imagine life without him.



Sam joined our family as a one year old. So for the first year of his life, he lived in an orphanage run by two incredible women (Lynne Ellen Pieterse and Sonia Swinton).

Now, just so you know, this is NOT your typical orphanage. Think about the most loving grandmother you’ve ever come across. Now multiply that by two. Now you’d get a sense of what this orphanage is like.

It’s quite possibly the most loving environment that these kids could be in while waiting for their forever homes.

Needless to say, my wife and I are tremendously grateful for the way they cared for our son during the first year of his life. These ladies and this orphanage will always have a BIG place in our hearts.

Ok, so that’s the backstory.

Now, here’s why my heart melted this morning…

This morning I received an email from the orphanage. They need some financial help and they outlined the specifics of what they need help with (which is good).

And because of the backstory  you just read, you can understand why my wife and I want to continue supporting them (which we typically do each year).

But here’s where my heart melted…

From a marketing perspective, I’m the perfect donor. I’m hyper targeted. I LOVE what they’re doing. And, we have the means to give.

For the most part, their email was great. They outlined the situation and gave specifics for where the money would be going.


They were missing THE most important piece to any marketing campaign…




So I read the email. I’m ready to give.

But there is no link giving me somewhere to go. There aren’t even any instructions telling me what to do.

The final line was “Any assistance with funding would be greatly appreciated and we are happy to share our records with you if you wish to view our finances.”

Wait a minute.

Where do I go?

What should I do?

How much is needed?

I’m willing to bet they would double or triple the amount of donations they receive from this campaign if they just included a call to action.

You’ve got to tell people what to do. Make it SUPER clear in regards to where you want people to go and what you want them to do.

For example, here’s how I would have adjusted that last line:


To continue loving and supporting the kids in our care, we’ve set a goal to raise $10,000 in the next month. But to reach that goal, we need your help.

Simply click the button below, enter the amount you’d like to give and your donation will be sent directly to Baby Hope House. And, if at anytime you’d like see our financial records, please email us directly at [email protected]

[Support Baby Hope House Today]


(For the record, you can actually click “Support Baby Hope House Today” above to go to the donation page of their website.)

Do you see the difference?

Without telling people specifically what to do, the reader now has to figure it out for themselves.

And when that’s the case, guess what is likely to happen?

Yup, nothing.


Because in the midst of trying to figure out how to give, people will get distracted. Like right now for example. My kids just woke up. And now they’re asking for breakfast.

This kind of distraction happens ALL THE TIME. And when it does, inevitably, people will forget to come back and donate.

Now please understand, I’m not picking on this lovely orphanage. I’m just trying to show you (and them) how one simple tweak can make a HUGE difference in the results of a campaign.

And I see this mistake being made all the time in non-profit work (like this) and also in for profit business as well.

Sometimes it has to do with fear about directly asking for the sale.

Other times it’s just not knowing what to say.

But when you’re reviewing your own materials, always ask yourself this…

“What specifically do I want people to do next?”

However you answer that question, make that your call to action. And make the next step clear and obvious.

If you do that, you’ll dramatically increase your results.

Now, I’ve got to make a quick reminder note so that I don’t forget to donate after getting these kids something to eat! :p