Writing an effective fundraising letter for your organisation
May 1, 2018
An effective fundraising letter is a crucial part of your organisation’s success. But approaching this task without the proper knowledge is a sure-fire way to watch your donor list dwindle. How you express your message, your layout, having a sense of urgency, as well as your ability to make replying easy all play a substantial role in the effectiveness of your fundraising letter.
Want to know how you can make your fundraising letters even better? Here are some tips…
Make it a story
We all love hearing stories that we can connect with and inspire us. And your letter should do just that. Choose a person or group of people who have played a role in making your organisation a better place and tell their story. You want the reader to feel a connection with them, what they do and what they’ve achieved. Statistics can help, but there should be a balancing act between that and the story that ‘s being told. Instead of engaging the reader’s analytical mind you should engage with them on an emotional level. People will donate based on how they feel, so make sure they remember you for all of the right reasons.
Keep it simple and easy
Your goal is to communicate your message simply and effectively. You can achieve this by using simple, straightforward language. Use words that trigger emotions in the reader as well as short sentences; repeat and underline important words and phrases that you want readers to really take in. Remember that it is quite likely your letter will be skimmed and not read so plan it accordingly. This means leaving lots of white space in the letter. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings to break up the text and make it easier to read. People should be able to scan and get the gist of your letter within seconds.
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Create a sense of urgency
Make your fundraising letter a call to action. Impart to the reader the importance of donating right away – a good way to do this is to include to mention a budget period or upcoming holiday. Tell your readers what their gift will do if given now so they can imagine the concrete effects of their donation helping someone. They may be “on the fence” or thinking about donating “someday” and this is the chance to motivate them by explaining the benefit of donating right away.
Writing your fundraising letter
Now that you have all the important elements for success, it’s time to start writing your letter. If you’re working for a small charity, you may not have a team dedicated to the creative work that comes with fundraising. So, if you’re looking for some help there are plenty of agencies and freelance writers who can assist you along the way. Take a look at agencies such as GOOD and Door22 who work specifically with charitable organisations. Or, if you’d rather work with a freelancer CharityComms has a freelance directory full of people who have been recommended by other not-for-profit organisations. And PeoplePerHour has a section with freelance workers with charity sector experience who you can get in touch with at the click of a button.
But if you’re heading up this particular campaign, there are also free resources available at sites like Via Writing and State of Writing that can help you along the way.
Writing a fundraising letter is key to a successful campaign. But if it is to be an effective way of raising donations and awareness, then it should contain a number of crucial elements. Hopefully, this guide has put you on the path to creating a great letter that will inspire people to support your organisation! BUt if you think we’ve missed anything, share them in the comments below.
Grace Carter is a career coach at Resumention, where she helps people improve presentation skills. She also helps with content management at Revieweal, a service that publishes reviews of online writing websites. For more information visit https://resumention.com/