There are many ways that you can get the word out about your fundraising campaign, but one of the most tried and true methods is mail. Whether you’re sending direct mail or email, being able to write a persuasive fundraising letter is an essential skill in running a successful fundraiser. But there is a right way and a wrong way, so if you want to get results from your fundraising letters you have to get savvy to what tickles people’s donation bones. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
It never looks good when you receive a letter and it starts with something like “Dear Sir/Madam” or, worse yet, “To Whom It May Concern.” Just like when you’re sending a cover letter and CV to apply for a job, you should look up who your point of contact is and use their name in the salutation. It feels much more personal, and it shows that you’ve put in some effort. They will also be much more likely to read it. Thanks to the internet, finding contacts has never been easier. If you can’t find them online, just call the company and ask.
The first paragraph will be a quick introduction about your fundraiser, but in the second paragraph and beyond you need to show them what’s in it for them, and why you need their support. Try to convey a sense of urgency, and tell them how they can benefit from participating in your campaign.
If your letter has big, dense paragraphs it might be a little off-putting to the clients. People are busy. They don’t have a lot of time to thoroughly read everything that comes across their desks. Keep it short and to the point. Try to incorporate elements like bullet points or numbered lists to make it scanable.
Of course you’ll have to talk about your organization a little bit, but don’t go overboard talking about yourself. Just give the essentials. They don’t need the entire history; focus more on why you need their support, and how they can stand to benefit from helping you out. If the letter sounds like me, me, me all the time, you probably won’t have great results.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to put your contact info at the end of the letter. Your supporters need to know who to call and how to reach you if they want to contribute, so be sure to include your phone number, email, website, and any other points of contact they should know about.
Remember, you’re trying to tell a compelling story that can persuade people to support you, so focus on telling a story that resonates with people. End the letter with a quick thank you and sign your name by hand to give it that extra-personal touch. Creating a solid client base for your fundraiser is all about building relationships. A solid fundraising letter can be a powerful tool to do just that. We hope these tips will make that process a little bit easier.