How to write effective fundraising letters
When starting a fundraising campaign, whether you are fundraising for a school, church or any other organization, an effective way to encourage people to donate is to provide incentives. Gaining support from local businesses and corporations through fundraising letters is a good way to bring in incentives such as prizes or exclusive discounts. It is possible to pay professional copywriters to produce fundraising letters for you, however this is not necessary. By writing and sending the fundraising letters yourself, you will save money and you will add a personal tone to the letter, which will allow you to outline the benefits of your cause with passion.
What are the benefits for the community AND the sponsor?
When writing a fundraising letter, it is important to emphasize the benefits that would come of the target company donating to your cause. Outline what you are raising money for. Why do you need this money? How will it benefit people in the community?
It is important not to forget that there are advantages for the company too, and it is your job to remind the recipient of this through the fundraising letter. Tell them how it will raise their profile in the community. Tell them how donating will align the company with the good cause for which you are raising money for. What will they receive for their sponsorship exactly? Where will you put their logo? Who will see this and what does that mean for them?
What? How? When?
It is important to be as clear and to the point in the fundraising letter. Be clear as to what you are asking from the company. This may be items which you would like to give out as prizes, exclusive discounts to include on a fundraising discount cards, or money. If you are asking for money, give a suggested donation size, and what that amount of money would provide. Give a tangible amount example if possible. An example of this can be found from charities such as water aid: “$3 a month, over a year, is as little as it could cost to help give a person safe, clean water for life”.
Make it clear how they should send the donation to you. Provide an address and a phone number. Make sure to include who they should make checks payable to. Are you willing to pick up items that are donated in person? Make it as easy as possible for them to donate.
In order to stop the receiver throwing the letter in the to-do later pile, put a time restriction on the donation. Tell them when you are running your fundraising event. Tell them your goals. How much money do you aim to raise? When do you want to raise it by?
Increase the open rate and attention paid to your letter
It is likely that the person you are asking money from will receive other post a long with your fundraising letter. It is important to try and grab their attention from the start. By using a rubber stamp and an ink pad, stamp “IMPORTANT! Fundraising Discount Card enclosed” in red ink on the front of your letter. This should deter the recipient from throwing your letter straight in to the bin with promotional mail.
Make sure to use a P.S. In a single sentence reiterate what you are asking for and why, and thank them for reading your letter, and for any possible donation they can give, on behalf of your organization.
Make your letter easy to read
Break down the fundraising letter in to easy to read paragraphs. Separate different parts of the text with headings. Make sure to use easy to understand, positive language, but also appeal to the emotions of the recipient. Make it clear from the start who you are and what the aim of the letter is.
If you receive a donation…
Make sure to follow up donations with thank you letters and invitations to fundraising events! Send them a letter after the fundraising event to let them know how much you raised. Did you meet your target? Keep in touch with them and let them know what good comes out of their donation. This will encourage them to donate next time you are looking to raise funds!
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