Writing a good
fundraising letter is not a magical process. With a little practice, you
your fundraising letters dramatically but writing a fundraising
letter is a process that requires a little planning before actually
putting words to paper.
letter campaign requires knowledge of the organization for which it is
Writing a fundraising letter also requires some understanding of the target audience who will receive
letter. These areas of consideration represent the starting point and
the end point of the process
of a fundraising letter campaign. What goes
in between is the message – the letter itself.
specifically, will any funds raised through the letter accomplish for the public good? A fundraising letter should directly answer what human
need will be fulfilled due to the generosity of the donor. You don’t
build a hospital, you establish a healthcare facility that will provide
relief of human suffering and improve and extend the lives of people in
the community. It will create jobs, be a focus of community pride and
stimulate economic growth in the community.
You should ask for
an amount in your fundraising letter or at least a range. Why try to
sell some body on the value of the work of your nonprofit but not give
them the price? Ask for an amount in your fundraising letter and you
letter should also provide a timeline for a response. “Make your
decision now to help before this letter and your opportunity to
positively change a life are lost.” You can also ask for a response
“this week” or “by a specific date.”
Make sure there is
a way for the donor to easily make a gift. Include a pledge card and a
return envelope with your fundraising letter. Some organizations use a
postage paid envelope while others imprint “thank your for your
additional gift of a stamp” in the corner. I like to make it as easy as
possible and use postage paid envelopes in my fundraising letters.
fundraising letter campaigns are targeted to smaller groups of people
who have some sort of interest or affiliation with your organization or
the type charitable services you provide. A fundraising letter sent to
a general category of people will fail to yield meaningful results.
I have had the
most success with fundraising letters no longer than a single sheet of
paper. At most I will stretch to the back page to include relevant facts
or financial data. People are hooked in the first paragraph or not at
all. The attention span of a typical adult is brief. Write 500 to 750 words
as a good target number before a fundraising letter reader will lose
interest. To offer additional information about your charity,
include your web address in your fundraising letter so that the reader
can learn even more if they choose.
Be certain your
fundraising letter is targeted, compelling, informative and brief. Ask
for a gift, ask for it now and make it easy to respond. When they do
respond, treat all donors as if they are the most important you have and
thank them in a meaningful way for their gift. Hand-sign the thank you
If you need help
with your next fundraising letter campaign, we can help by writing a
single letter or planning a complete mailing at a cost-effective rate.
Contact us for more information.
* If you arrived here from About.com, this is my business site and
while I believe the information contained on letter writing is helpful, I
wanted to acknowledge this fact - Rob DeMartinis, Guide to
Nonprofit Organizations at About.com.