In spite of the growing online donations trend, knowing how to write an effective donation request letter remains one of the most important and sought-after skills in a fundraiser. If you intend to collect funds from companies or from individuals by sending them personalized donation requests, good writing skills are a must.
A well-written fundraising letter needs to respect some formal specifications and be creative at the same time.
We have all been there: carefully crafting a fundraising request and hoping it will lead to good results.
If you too dread the blank page of your “Donation request” document, which has been patiently waiting on your computer desktop for days, check our tips and get one step closer to raising the funds your organization needs.
Here are a few tips on how to create the perfect nonprofit donation request letter
Personalize your request letter
You will have more chances of attracting contributions if you use the potential donor’s name several times throughout the letter and you also mention a few instances when he or she interacted with your organization or its beneficiaries.
Grab the donor’s attention
The letter should have a catchy introductory paragraph, like a daring question, a fascinating fact, or a story of a person who has received help from your charity. Try writing the kind of story that the reader connects to and can see in their mind’s eye.
Thank the donor for a previous donation
You cannot ask donors to give your something if you don’t express your gratitude for a previous gift. Moreover, showing how those funds have been allocated is must-do if you want your donors to trust you and become loyal.
Focus on a particular aspect
The same thing happens with for-profit businesses; when you try to say too many things at once and emphasize all the positive aspects of your organization, you fail. Instead of speaking about all the programs that your nonprofit is running, talk about a specific situation or need which is the most relevant for the addressee.
Explain why that need is critical for your organization and try to transmit a discreet sense of urgency.
Show the potential donor what will happen if they make a contribution and what will happen if they do not.
State the exact impact of the donation: “Your $50 donation will feed a hungry child for an entire year.” When mentioning the consequences of not acting, be careful; don’t blame the reader, don’t focus too much on the negative impact and don’t sound as if you were whining.
Write an effective closing paragraph
Thank the donor in advance for any potential contributions, thank them for taking their time to read your letter, and shortly state again why their donation is important. Choosing the appropriate salutation is another critical aspect.
Using your name and position in the organization will show you have the authority to collect funds and will instill trust. Sign the letter by hand, so it does not look like an automated form which is sent without you reviewing it personally.
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