Writing fundraising letters can be an effective way to request donations to a charitable cause. Letters are used for a variety of purposes and can be sent to a large number of people or a select few. The results of a writing a fundraising letter can vary greatly depending on the purpose of the letter, the way the letter is written, and the audience that receives the letter.
Here are 7 strategies to use when writing fundraising letters so they are more interesting, compelling and responsive.
1. Write to ONE person – When you start writing the fundraising letter, imagine you are writing to only one person, not a group of people. This will help you get into the best frame of mind to write the letter. It also will help your letter sound more personable.
Use singular word forms, not plural – avoid words and phrases like “some of you” or “anyone” when addressing the reader. Instead use the personal, singular form “you.” This mirrors the way that the letter will be read by the recipient.
2. Be Specific – When writing fundraising letters the more specific you can be, the better your message will be understood and the greater the response rate. Ask your reader to make a specific response, such as a donation of money, goods or services. You can offer several specific dollar amounts include a specific date that you need the response by.
If your appeal will benefit a specific project, mission or program, say so. Describe how the donations will help with this particular project. Include a few brief details about where the donation will be used and the positive results it will bring.
3. Stay Focused – When writing a fundraising letter stay focused on the outcome you would like to see. Make one request and communicate this message clearly. Avoid discussing topics that are not directly related to your appeal or that do not support the message of your letter.
4. Descriptive Phrases – Use the most descriptive adjectives and adverbs in your letter to clarify your message. However, when writing fundraising letters be especially careful not to over embellish or exaggerate.
5. Keep it Simple – It’s important to include information about your organization and why you’re writing. However, a fundraising letter is not the place to include lengthy official mission statements or a long description of your future plans.
When writing fundraising letters don’t go overboard with extremely detailed numbers and jargon that the reader may not be familiar with. Remember to focus on information that is relevant and compelling to the potential reader.
6. Personalization – If you are writing a fundraising letter to a specific donor, include specific information related to them. If it’s a repeat donor, discuss ways that his or her previous contributions have made a difference in your organization.
7. Narratives & Success Stories – One of the most successful ways that you can get your message across is to describe a story of a specific person or situation that your organization has helped. If your group has made some major achievements and successes these can also be of use. When writing a fundraising letter remember to include stories that will engage the reader, not just show off accomplishments.
If you are having trouble getting started writing your letter, first start with a fundraising letter template. Then revise the letter based upon your own situation and the request you are making. By using the template and the strategies above, writing fundraising letters will be much easier.