Writing a fundraising letter is often an important first step in getting donations for your not-for-profit organisation. It should be easy to write a letter requesting donations for a worthy cause. Writing, however, can be an uncharitable art form at times – especially when you are writing in a style or theme which is unfamiliar to you. Well if you’ve spent half the morning staring at a blank screen, Word Nerds has got your back. Below you will find all the information you need to write a killer fundraising letter.
Use a conversational tone when writing a fundraising letter
The first tip is really a guiding principle when writing a fundraising letter: use a conversational tone. As the name implies, a conversational tone is writing that approximates the way we speak to one another in everyday conversation. It talks to the reader in their own language. A conversational tone sounds authentic to our ears, and really is the key to a reader’s heart. Just to clarify: conversational tone is just an approximation of conversational language. Phrases and words – such as ‘what I mean to say is’, ‘you know’ or even ‘y’know’ – are common in everyday speech, but in text form they just bog the reader down or appear unprofessional. But when you’re writing a first draft and you’re on a roll, feel free to use as much casual language as you please. Such phrases are easily rewritten when editing.
Now let’s look at what to include when writing a fundraising letter.
- Begin by introducing yourself and your organisation to the reader. If they have previously given to your charity, or have expressed interest in your cause, thank them at the outset when writing a fundraising letter.
- Provide a summary of the purpose of your charity, and the history your organisation has with helping the disadvantaged.
- Next you must explain the essential human problem, and how this situation impacts the lives of those affected. This is where you get to paint a little picture for the reader. It is, in a sense, a short story – only very, very short.
- Show the reader how your company, with the aid of its generous supporters, have improved the lives of people in the past. Speak in concrete terms when writing a fundraising letter.
- Request a donation for a specified amount.
- State simply and clearly how this money would be used to benefit those suffering.
- Sometimes it may be necessary to provide more detail about your charity, and how the donated funds would be spent. If this is the case, consider including this information on a separate page, or even in a brochure if your budget allows.
- If authorised to do so, you may choose to offer a gift or other incentive as a way of saying thank you to those who donate the requested amount.
- Finish with a flourish, leaving the reader with a sense of hope and the feeling of community. After all, we’re all in this world together. Thank them for their generosity and their time.
- Ensure the fundraising letter is personally singed by a member of your organisation.
If you need assistance with writing a fundraising letter, please contact us to discuss your organisation and goals. In addition to writing services, we also offer customised business writing courses to help staff improve their writing and editing skills.
If your organisation raises funds through speeches and presentations, you can get free tips at Speech Power.