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How to Write a Fundraising Letter

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Fundraising Letter Readers Recipients

Fundraising letters can be sent to businesses and individuals to request a donation and raise awareness for your cause and your fundraising event or activity. Fundraising letters are a little like sales letters or copywriting in a way – you want to solicit an action from your reader; that is, a donation. Therefore, your fundraising letter needs to be informative and very persuasive.

Some people ask a professional copywriter to write their fundraising letter but you can do it yourself. Even though you may not be a professional writer, you have an advantage over an outsider because you know the subject very well and are passionate about it.

Highlight The Benefits

Although your fundraising letter will obviously need to clearly state what you are appealing for money for and how the money will be used, it also needs to appeal to the reader by making clear what the benefits of donating will be to them. For example, it could be a way for a local business to raise their profile and show their commitment to corporate responsibility.

People who donate may receive a gift or admittance to a performance so that they can see the good work that donated money does. Benefits to donators don’t have to be material – you can use the fundraising letter to emphasise benefits, such as the money going towards improving people’s health, an operation that will provide a better quality of life for someone, or even saving lives. Quotes and images from people who have been helped by donated money can help.

Be Clear

Make sure your letter clearly states what you want the recipient to do. You don’t want your recipients to finish reading your letter and think that it’s an information bulletin. State throughout that you need donations. Subtly suggesting amounts can also help. For example you could say, “A donation of just £10 could provide clean drinking water for x people for x days.”

Aim for a fast reaction by saying something like, “We are trying to raise £3,000 by April of this year so that the operation can be carried out in summer.” Once people have thrown the letter away or ‘filed’ it, the chances of them donating become slimmer.

Make it clear how people can donate, whether that’s with online banking, by cheque or through a Website. If people can send cheques, include a pre-addressed envelope. Make sure there are contact details to prove things are above-board and so that potential donors can ask any questions.

Presentation

Make the letter easy on the eye by using sub-headings and paragraphs. Long, unbroken chunks of text are off-putting. Similarly, use bullet points if necessary – they are easy to scan and digest. Use simple and clear language with positive phrases.

Many people scan-read mail, including fundraising letters. End with a PS reiterating for a final time what you want them to do and why. This is your last chance to solicit an action from your readers.

Follow Up

Always follow up donations with a thank you letter. You could also consider sending a newsletter out regularly to keep donors up-to-date with projects and progress so that they can see how their money is being used. This will encourage repeat donations.

Fundraising For Beginners

If you are new to fundraising, follow our Beginner's Guide on this site.

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