A written appeal for fundraising is an opportunity to speak directly to your potential donors. To craft a letter asking for donations the right way, you’ll need to stick to a script that guarantees success.
Writing the Perfect Fundraising Letter
Writing a letter asking for donations for a fundraiser requires the use of a few techniques to make your mission clear and your appeal personal.
Introduce a Problem, and Explain the Solution
Your donation appeal needs to focus on solving a problem. Whatever your fundraising goal might be, you need to clearly explain what’s wrong and how your donor’s money will help rectify it.
Paint a picture of need with an optimistic ending, made possible by their generosity. Demonstrate that there is an issue you’re working toward fixing, and make it clear that your donors can help with the project by giving you their hard-earned money.
Make a Personal Appeal
When you’re appealing for donations, you need to make a personal connection. The easiest way to do that is to write something that resonates with your audience. Describe how the money you receive will impact your organization. Make your audience realize the power of their donation and how it will make them feel good.
Enhance the personal connection in your letter by doing the following:
- Connect their donation with a positive emotional impact
- Use personal pronouns (You, I, we, they)
- Write as if you’re speaking to a close friend
Create a Call to Action
Your letter might be seeking financial help, but you need to emphasize the action that you can take with that money. By speaking clearly about the limitations you’re facing due to a lack of funds, you can illuminate the potential upside of more resources. Drive that point home with direct language.
Will the donations for your fundraiser allow you to expand your organization’s offerings? Or will the increased funding make it possible for you to enhance your existing operations? What percentage of the money will be used for meeting a specific goal?
For example, if you’re fundraising for a new vehicle, you can accentuate the costs associated with the purchase and equipping it for your operations. You can explain that all of the donations are tax-deductible (if you’re a 501(c)(3) charitable organization) and that all the money you receive in this tranche of donations will go directly toward this specific project.
You can even mention what any surplus donations will be used for. The more transparency, the better.
Make Donating Easy
You don’t want any roadblocks in the path of a potential donor. Make it as easy as possible for them to donate by adding a quick online way to help your cause. Paper checks are less and less popular, so it behooves you to use modern methods of getting donors into your website funnel and ultimately completing conversions.
Harvesting their payments, so you should think like a business, not like a charity. Consider using some of the following techniques to make it easier on your donors:
- Use QR codes in your letter so donors don’t have to remember a complicated web address
- Use a reputable online payment processing
- Make the ‘donate now’ button on your website easy to find
- Don’t clutter your donor page with other calls to action
Think about how often you receive ‘junk mail,’ how quickly you throw away much of what comes from the post office, and it might make a lot more sense for your appeals to arrive via email and traditional mail.
An email has an urgency and immediacy that snail mail doesn’t. Plus, once you are in an inbox, you can appear there without paying for postage, which can be a significant expense with traditional mailings.
Also, consider using technology to help expand your mailing list. Organic email harvesting is relatively easy and inexpensive, and you can supplement clicks on your website with purchased mailing lists. Email newsletters are a remarkably effective way to communicate with regularity. They’re also easily shared, spreading the word of your good works beyond your immediate reach while also potentially expanding your distribution list.
Use Pictures to Paint a Clear Picture
Pictures often paint better images than even the most artful words. So using some action photos that show the positive works made possible through your fundraising is an excellent way to inspire donors to open their wallets.
It’s more than acceptable to use pictures to demonstrate the need for money, the problem you’re confronting, the impact of donations, and more. Your goal is to show the tangible and relatable results made possible by fundraising and the problems it will solve.
Make it quick and easy for your potential donors to see what their dollars will make possible and the effects that their donations will have on solving the problems you’re confronting.
Write a Letter Asking For Donations for a Fundraiser: Dos and Don’ts
Here are some quick things to do and not do when writing letters for donations.
- Get personal
- Ask for specific amounts and state clear goals
- Offer sponsorship details and incentives
- Attract large donors by offering potential advertising and marketing
- Be specific about your organization, its goals, and your events
- Make connections by talking about real issues
- Consider modern communication strategies, including emails
- Get in touch, stay in touch, and say thank you
- Be vague
- Lack context
- Be impersonal
- Clutter your design or call to action
Writing a Letter Asking for Donations: Fundraising Wrap Up
Your letter should clearly explain the problem you’re confronting and the potential impact of donations. You don’t necessarily have to be dramatic, but you’ll need to demonstrate both a need and a vision for success.
By writing a personal, relatable, and competent appeal, you’re setting yourself up for success. Consider expanding on your traditional outreach letters by venturing into email marketing and online donor solicitations. Emails don’t require postage or traditional printing, meaning you may see substantial cost savings.
The bottom line is that a successful campaign appealing to donors starts with personal outreach. So, tell your story and be frank, so potential donors can feel good about how they’re helping your cause.