Key Lesson Problems, Solution & Call to Action

To inspire your audiences to be a part of your cause, you must show them the problems your beneficiaries face. These problems also need solutions connected to them in a simple and straight forward way. This lesson will help you describe your problems in a relatable manner and your solutions as tangible and achievable.

But to really move your supporters to action, you will need to build an effective call to action in your narrative. Here, you will learn how to craft a message that will give your audiences a sense of purpose and offer them an opportunity to take action.

The Problem: What are you hoping to solve?

People may be inspired by the goals you’re working for, but to motivate them to support your work, they also need to understand the challenges that stand in the way of those goals. What is standing between the people you are trying to help and the goals they are trying to reach? Remember, while your organization might deal with complex problems, it’s important to keep the explanation simple so the problem sounds solvable. If the problem seems insurmountable, people may feel the cause is hopeless.

Example: Far too many young people are growing up without the support they need to succeed in school and life. More than 20 percent of high school students do not graduate on time.

Tip: Organizations often use data to drive home the magnitude of the challenge. But overwhelming your audience with numbers can make it more difficult for them to understand the problem and the human impact of it. If you want to use data, consider using a single, powerful statistic that opens people’s eyes to the problem in a meaningful way.

Solution

By now, you’ve articulated the goal you’re working to achieve, as well as the problem that stands in the way. Now it’s time to describe the solutions that your organization offers. Your solutions should connect directly to the problem in a simple, straightforward way. Make sure to explain how your solutions will improve people’s lives in specific, tangible ways. People are most likely to take action in support of concrete goals, rather than abstract ones, so be as specific as you can.

Example: America's Promise frames its work around Five Promises that it believes must be made and kept to every young American – caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education and opportunities to serve. With the supportive environment of these promises at work for young Americans, America's Promise believes we can achieve a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020.

Tip: For maximum motivating power, describe the benefits of your solution for the people you serve as well as society as a whole. For example, improving public education will help individual students reach their potential, while also creating a more skilled workforce.

Defining a Call to Action

A call to action is a message that creates a sense of purpose and offers the opportunity for people to take a specific action related to that message. In many cases, that message is one of urgency, but in others the call to action can simply make your audience more aware of a cause or idea. Help your supporters understand what will be gained if they act and, just as important, what will be lost if they do not.

The call to action is a good place to dial up the emotional intensity of your narrative. Emotion works hand-in-hand with cognition to aid in attention, retention and motivation. This has important implications: If people don’t have an emotional reaction to a story, they won’t remember it and will ultimately be much less be motivated to act.

Example: “Get involved in your community—find a place to volunteer. Share how you are helping to create a GradNation, or donate to help the movement.”

Tip: Different people are interested in getting involved in different ways. Some people want to call their Congressman and express their opinions, but other people may not like confrontation and would rather express themselves by creating content, while others may want to share information with their friends. Think about all the different kinds of people who are interested in, and make sure you’re offering something for everyone.

Keep working.

You're on the last step to creating your Narrative Framework. Defining the problems, solutions and calls to action are important in motivating your audiences to act.

Return to top

Great Job!

You've built your organization's Narrative Framework. This will serve as the foundation for your organization's individual stories.

Next up: Audiences and Objectvies

Your Narrative Framework

People

People you serve:

Your supporters:

The most important way this group can help you advance your cause:

The geographic makeup of your supporters:

Long-Term Goals

Problem

Solutions

Call to Action

Further reading, based on your answers.

The 40/60 Content Rule: Less Time Writing, More Time Sharing 40% of your time should be spent creating content, while the remaining 60% should be spent promoting content.
  • 3 Comments
  • 6 Saved

Small Garth Moore

Mining the Mindset of a Publisher We’re all publishers now, whether we know it or not.
  • 1 Comment
  • 4 Saved

Small Lara Setrakian

Best of Storytelling 2016 2016 didn’t just bring a rollercoaster of emotional events—it brought a series of stories that tugged at different heartstrings.

Small Eliana Reyes

Greenpeace Mobilisation Lab's Campaign to Free the Arctic 30 Infusing storytelling into advocacy campaigns.
  • 2 Comments
  • 4 Saved

Small Mob Lab Team

Use Stories to Build Communities That Can Be Harnessed to Act Technology provides platforms and tools but now, more than ever, social movements—online and offline—are built on the essence of our humanity.
  • 1 Comment
  • 1 Saved

Small Maria Ressa

Your CEO as Master Storyteller Three types of stories leaders need to tell.
  • 1 Comment
  • 6 Saved

Small Justina Chen

5 Stories Nonprofits Should Be Telling on Social Media Five stories that your nonprofit should be telling everywhere you do fundraising and marketing – including social media.
  • 1 Comment
  • 12 Saved

Small Julia Claire Campbell

Repurposing Content: What’s Old is New Again Get extra mileage from your best stories.
  • 6 Saved

Small Jereme Bivins

A Single Story Does Not Change the World Tell your audience stories that matter the most to them.
  • 3 Saved

Small Alison Byrne Fields