How to write an effective fundraising letter

March 31, 2023 0 Comments

First, realize an important fact:

No one gives money away without receiving something in return.

With the exception of small bonuses like address stickers, donors don’t get anything they can hold in their hands to show where their money went. But they get something in return or they wouldn’t donate.

What they get is emotional and sometimes it’s something they can’t even name. A lot of emotions come into play when a person writes a check for a charity. They include guilt, pride, fear, love, and gratitude, to name just a few. As a writer, it’s your job to tap into those emotions and give your givers the satisfaction they crave.

Here are just a few of the reasons someone might choose to support your particular cause:

* Be recognized for your generosity

* To feel important

* Being associated with someone important

* To take revenge on the corrupt or unjust

* To support or oppose a political point of view

* To validate your own moral or ethical values.

* To fulfill the sense of duty

* To share your love (for animals, children, nature, the elderly, etc.)

* To alleviate your guilt for a past transgression, or for having been successful.

Most people will mention the tax benefits, and yes, giving to a registered nonprofit does come with benefits. But remember that there are many causes to choose from. They will not choose YOUR particular cause for that reason alone.

Let your donors feel like they are part of the solution

They each have their own reason, but I think one of the strongest reasons people donate is to feel that they are a vital part of the good work that is being done. They may not have time to provide practical help, but by offering financial help, they participate.

So the message to you as a writer is to make sure your donors know that they make the work possible. And if there is any way to show them the positive results of that work, DO IT!

Show your good results

Pessimism cards make people feel depressed. Avoid them. Instead, he writes letters showing that there was a bad situation, but thanks to his kind support, he was able to achieve a happy ending. Paint a verbal picture so your donors can “see” what you have done and what you will do in the future.

Then remind them that many more happy endings are needed and that your continued support will ensure they happen. (And it doesn’t matter if they’ve supported you before… write like they have.)

Take the time to dig up a success story and show that your dollars make a difference. Don’t just say you need support…show them what you WILL DO with their support. Be specific, even if it only touches on a small segment of your work.

The next thing I’m going to tell you may be hard for you… but do it anyway.

ASK for the money.

Did you know that some people give just because they are asked? Psychology is a strange thing. You would think if you wrote a long letter about your job and how much money it takes to continue it, people would know they need help. Not so… if you don’t ask, most won’t give.

So, swallow your pride and reluctance to “beg.” Remember that the money is not for you… it is for the good work you are doing. I know how hard this is, because when it comes to asking in person, I’m the worst fundraiser in the world. I always feel like I’m asking for myself, because I only work for causes that I wholeheartedly support. That is why I restrict my request to the written word.

Don’t beat around the bush or imply that you need their help. Walk right out and say, “Please send your $25 (or $5 – or $100) donation today so we can continue…”. Don’t let people get away by not asking.

People even need you to suggest donation amounts. You must include a response device with a “delivery chain” showing a small number to a larger number. (The numbers will depend on your audience and your cause.) Let them know that even a small donation is important, but they need to send something.

If you have a special need right now, please say so. Say “Please send your donation today so we can **** for ****.” Create some urgency by letting them know that the money is desperately needed by a certain date to meet a specific need.

Lastly, include a return envelope. You don’t need to add postage…in fact, you shouldn’t…but do include the envelope and a return device (a device that reaffirms the reason for the donation). People are busy… if you don’t make it easy to respond, they’ll put your letter aside for later and probably never come back to it.

Remember… Americans are very generous. We love to give…we feel good when we give…and it’s your job to help us feel good by supporting your favorite cause.

Go for it! And if you feel frustrated and want help, call or write.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *