Many non-profit organizations can benefit from a well-planned ongoing mailing program. Our complete guide, 7 Essential Steps to Raising Money by Mail, takes you step by step through building your mailing list, writing a letter that get results, and thanking donors for their gifts.
Not sure where to start? With our step by step process you’ll know how to begin your letter campaign.
Find out what to do when you have a small mailing list — or no mailing list at all! (pages 13-15)
Not feeling creative? Our sample fundraising letters will spark your ideas!
Learn how and why each sample letter succeeded, then apply those strategies to your letter.
Know in advance what the response to your letter will be. (pages 4, 11, 30-31)
Leaving out critical elements of your letter could spell disaster. Use our handy checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything. (page 28)
Beat writer’s block cold with our collection of 321 sample sentences and phrases — find phrases for every part of your letter. (pages 35-48)
Ask for the donation with confidence! Sample “ask” phrasing and P.S. statements add power to your letter! (pages 38, 44)
A sample production schedule (that you can tweak for your own needs) will help keep you on task. (page 9)
We Put Our Experience to Work for You
Why should you follow our advice? We developed these 7 steps based upon our own experience working for nonprofit organizations.
We provide you with practical examples, detailed checklists, writing helps, and other tools that make the fundraising process faster and easier. Key concepts will help improve your chances of success. And, we alert you to potential pitfalls so you can avoid costly errors.
Sandra Sims has served on a variety of nonprofit boards and community groups. She began her love of fundraising as a volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. In that effort she discovered the best way to raise funds was with a letter campaign. She has earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Sandy Rees is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and has raised money for food banks, Habitat for Humanity and a variety of other organizations. She is a coach, consultant and trainer. Her experience includes building donor data bases, identifying major givers and implementing donor cultivation plans. Her success in fundraising has resulted in over a million dollars for the organizations she has served.
Sample Fundraising Letters
You will get sample letters from a variety of organizations that demonstrate direct-mail principles in action. You can use the format, style and wording created by other organizations and apply these ideas to your own situation. The sample letters included represent a variety of causes, including:
Animal rescue and shelter
Private and public schools
Health research and services
Besides a general fundraising letter you will get samples of letters for very specific purposes. Here are the letter types that you will get:
- Financial Donation Request
- Membership Based Programs
- Monthly Donation Clubs
- Request Letters Sent By Individuals
- Letters Requesting Funds for Special Projects
- Annual Appeal Letters
- Thank You Letters
These are top-quality example letters that worked in real life and that you can use for demonstration and inspiration. No matter what type of organization you work for, each of these letters has something you can use, adapt, or learn from to create your own fundraising letter.
Christo Rey High School Sacramento successfully raised $45,572.42 for their fall 2008 annual campaign. Here’s the exact letter they used, which is included in the 7 Essential Steps to Raising Money by Mail. (You can view a larger version of this letter here.)
While there are likely many needs at such a school, the letter focuses on one theme, the need for textbooks. The reader is drawn in to the story through the colorful description of the classroom environment and through the use of quotations from actual students.
The suggested donations are tied to something tangible, the number of books that can be purchased. The letter closes appropriately by thanking the reader in advance for making a contribution. A response card and envelope were included with the package.
By sending out 3200 letters to a highly targeted list (this is a concept we cover in the book) they got a resulting 2.8% response rate and average gift size of $551.53.
These are just a few examples of successful fundraising letter strategies that you will be able to learn and emulate from the sample letters.
See which other organizations’ sample letters are included by looking at the Table of Contents.
A “Swipe File” of Sample Sentences, Phrases and Words
Using the “swipe file” of sample words, phrases, and sentences, you will benefit from carefully crafted wording that helps convey your message. You can literally copy these choice phrases word for word and paste them into your own letter! Then just fill in a few details specific to your circumstances.
You’ll get 321 sample words, phrases and sentences including:
Opening sentences (22)
Sentence Starters (41)
“Fill in the Blank” Sentence Templates (28)
Ask Statements (how to ask for the donation!) (37)
Matching Fund Campaigns (13)
Membership Programs – initial sign-up (26)
Membership Programs – yearly renewal (20)
Monthly Giving programs (9)
Sentences to use in letters to Previous Donors (15)
Phrases for letters to volunteers (4)
Phrases for letters than encourage online giving (6)
Thank you statements (20)
P.S. Statements (13)
Reply Card Statements (16)
Thank you letters (36)
Write a Compelling Letter That Gets Results
With the sample letters and “swipe file” of sample phrases, you’ll be able to create a more compelling and attention-getting letter. Using these tools, even a novice can produce a letter with style and professionalism. If your group already has experience with fundraising letters, you’ll get fresh ideas and techniques to address donors in a compelling way.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your templates. I think of all the time and energy I have spent over the last few months trying to write a fundraising letter and you have made it so easy. I would have paid twice the amount you charge to save myself the time. Thank you and I will do business with you again.
Rhonda Perkins, Breast Cancer Tea
This book has certainly come in handy and has given our fundraising letter a much needed boost. Kudos to you for creating it!
Gladys Ahrens, Pet Peeves
100% Risk-Free Guarantee
Your satisfaction is completely guaranteed. In this book you’ll discover the simple 7 step formula for creating a fundraising letter package that gets results, plus 321 sample phrases and 29 sample letters.
If after reading this guide and testing the materials you are not able to create a fundraising letter, or you are dissatisfied for any reason, we’ll issue you a prompt and courteous refund. This guarantee is in effect for up to one year of the purchase date. If you have any questions before or after the purchase feel free to contact us.
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Here’s to your Fundraising Success!
Sandra Sims & Sandy Rees
Co-Authors, 7 Essential Steps to Raising Money by Mail
P.S. Even if you are already a great letter writer, remember this book comes with one powerful advantage – the “Swipe File.” You’ll get 321 sample words, phrases and sentence starters to add spice to your letter, fill in some of the missing pieces or just help get your own creativity flowing. This one section is a valuable resource that you will refer to again and again, no matter what kind of letter you’re writing.
Please note: This ebook is specifically about raising funds for non-profit, charitable organizations. It does not cover raising funds for a business or for individuals.
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