Fundraising letters are the standard way to ask someone for a donation, volunteer time, and much more.
But these letters must be carefully crafted. It can be easy to write a simple letter asking for donations or support, but without intentionality or utilizing best practices, you will not be able to achieve the results you desire.
In this post, I will go over five best practices on writing the perfect fundraising letter.
Read on to learn how to write a fundraising letter that is compelling and sets your organization apart from the other organizations in your industry.
Address the reader personally
Just like any other personal letter you would write, address the reader by their name, and use a lot of “I” and “you” words in your fundraising letter.
Here are some examples:
- “I am writing to you because…”
- “You can make a difference by…”
- “On behalf of [your organization’s name], I would like to thank you…”
Also, when writing your fundraising letter, always try to write to one person:
- “Dear donors...” → “Dear [recipient’s first name]...”
- “I encourage all of you to…” → “I encourage you to…”
- “With everyone’s support…” → “With your support…”
These words do not only make your letter sound personable, but these words put the reader in the center of the story that is being communicated in your letter.
Tell a story
In the very beginning of your fundraising letter, try to pull the reader into your world. You only have a couple seconds before the reader disengages from your letter and moves on with their day.
Your goal is to bring the issues your organization is fighting for front and center, so that the issues you care about become something the reader also decides to care about.
This kind of storytelling can be done by using emotional appeal. Tell a true story that tugs on the heartstrings of the reader and keeps them engaged with your letter.
Here are some examples of stories you can tell:
- A story of a specific person or community who benefitted from your organization’s work
- Your personal story to establish a personal connection with the reader
- A story that powerfully illustrates the specific problem your organization is facing
Remember not to make this section too long. Keep it concise, descriptive, and inspirational.
The point of telling a story is to invite and draw the reader to be a part of your story.
Define the problem and outline your goal
Clearly identify the main issue you want to address in your letter.
What problem does your organization want to solve? Be precise about the problem by mentioning specific facts and possibly adding numbers as well.
Once the problem is clearly defined, outline your organization’s goal.
Just like being precise about the problem, you should also be precise about your goal. Mention numbers, time frames, and any other specific details.
Defining the problem and outlining the goal allows the reader to understand the importance and purpose of your organization.
Have a call to action
A fundraising letter would not be complete without a call to action. Once you have laid out the problem and the goal, lay out the different ways the reader can make a difference.
In every story with a problem, there needs to be a hero. Your goal in this section is to turn the reader into a hero by inspiring the joy of giving.
Don’t lead the reader into action by making them feel guilty or by treating them as if they are ATM machines.
Inspire generosity by telling the reader the impact their support can create. You want them to be the hero of your story.
Once the hero of the story is communicated, list out the different ways the reader can get involved with your organization.
Here are some examples:
- Make a donation here: [your donation page URL]
- Email us at: [your email address]
- Text [keyword here] to [text to give phone number]
- Join as a volunteer at: [volunteer signup page]
If your organization does not have a way to accept donations online, check out our fundraising tools. Our donation pages can be fully customized, we offer text to give at no cost, and our Action Pages can be used to easily create forms to collect information.
Say thank you and add your signature
Finally, end your fundraising letter with gratitude by thanking the reader for considering a donation.
If your fundraising letter turns some readers into donors, make sure to send them an actual thank you letter.
Expressing your appreciation goes a long way when it comes to nurturing long-lasting relationships with donors. Also, a simple thank you can also turn one-time donors into donors who make recurring donations.
Once you express your appreciation, end the fundraising letter with a signature. Instead of signing with your organization’s name, use a signature from a real person within your organization. Doing this adds even more personalization to your letter.
I hope these tips will help you craft the perfect fundraising letter for your next fundraising campaign! Happy fundraising!