An effective fundraising letter is an appeal from one person to another. Use "I" and "you".
Your letter should describe an opportunity for the recipient to meet their personal needs by supporting a worthy
Donors need lots of information to be persuaded to send money. You need to provide proof you are doing the things
you say you are doing. Give specific details in your fundraising letter on how the money will be used.
Human interest sells, so tell a story. Be clear and keep the vocabulary simple. Use compact, powerful words and
short, punchy sentences. Use words that convey emotions over those that communicate thoughts.
Don't use statistics, use real-life examples.
Tips for Successful Fundraising Letters
What is the purpose of the appeal?
Who are you writing to? What do you know about them?
What problem or need will the appeal address?
What benefits will donors get (tangible and intangible)?
Statistics approach: "Innocent children die from this
disease. However, with early treatment, three out of four
Real-life example: We lost Sally today. Her mother and
father knew her days were numbered. But, Billy, Sarah and
Bob will live because we were able to get them treatment
Format your fundraising letter for easy reading by
varying the length of paragraphs (no more than 6
or 7 lines long).
Give readers of the letter a reason to send money
now. Create a sense of urgency. And say "thank
you" in advance.
Answer these questions prior to preparing your
The approach you use can vary depending on whether you are sending an
"acquisition letter" to people who have not donated to your cause before, or a
"renewal letter" to those who have contributed in the past.
Don't be afraid to use the "M" word. If your not-for-profit organization needs
money, ask for it. Don't use generalizations like "Your contribution will help feed
the needy." Be specific. Tell them exactly what their money will do. And be
enthusiastic about the difference it will make.
Provide them a number of ways to give - e.g., mail a check,use their credit card,
call a toll free telephone number, go to your website.