Last week, I heard the best presentation on marketing that I’ve ever heard in recent memory. I was listening to Frank Luntz, the famous former Republican message strategist who brought us terms like the “death tax.” He talked about how nonprofits can express themselves in more compellng terms, drawing heavily from his book, Words that Work. He was presenting right after me at Spitfire’s Communications Leadership Institute. Thank goodness I went first — following that session would have been like being a grad student sharing the stage with Stephen Hawking. I’m going to blog about what Luntz said all this week, because he understands better than anyone how to cut through the communications clutter, speak to an audience’s values, and seize people’s attention.One of the questions posed to Luntz was how to get young people interested in environmental causes. He said if they were not paying attention with awareness of global warming at such a high, they probably wouldn’t ever care. What is needed now, he said, is a clear call to action. A few days later, a lot of well-intentioned but poorly positioned Earth Day email was clogging my inbox. Most of it lacked a clear, Luntz-style call to action. He was right.There was one notable exception. My friends at Care2 sent me a link to their petition page. Nice, vivid video (I’ll never forget the five arms). Simple action (sign the petition). Room for user-driven content. 10,000 signatures and thousands of personal notes in a few days. Well done.Remember: Ask for something simple, clear and compelling or don’t ask at all.