Write the Perfect Fundraising Letter: Principles to Bring in More Money

The days of bake sales and car washes are fading. The current trend in organizational fundraising is targetted appeals for monetary donations.

No matter how worthy the cause, many people are uncomfortable asking for money. Help your organization raise the needed cash by writing a fundraising letter that gets noticed.

1. Make the greeting count.

Whenever possible, begin the fundraising letter with a personal greeting. If you can’t insert each recipient’s name, use a salutation that sets the recipient apart, for example:

“Dear Hodge High School Alumnus,”

“Hello, Saint Paul Parishioner,”

“Fellow Community Member,”

The goal is to remind the recipients that they are part of a group.

Once you have the reader’s attention, help them remember the benefits they might have received from the group in the past. Don’t limit yourself to the tangible – often emotional benefits are even more valuable.

“Remember the fun we always had traveling to band competitions? Even when we didn’t win, we built friendships, camaraderie and sportsmanship.”

“What would our weekly worship service be like without the magnificent statues and tapestries that adorn our sanctuary?”

“The Down Town Renovation Committee hopes you are enjoying the new sidewalks and landscaping on the north end of town. The area has become a favorite place to enjoy an evening stroll since the project has been completed.”

2. State the need.

Let the recipient know how much money you need and where the money will be going.

“Because of the raising cost of transportation and the reduction in money we get from the school, we need to raise $15,000 in order to keep the tradition of excellence that has defined the Hodge High School Marching Band,. Without these funds, the band will not be able to travel to any competitions or away football games this year.”

“Due to water damage from last month’s storm, we are faced with an additional $500 in cleaning costs this month.”

“It is now time to make the south end of town as beautiful and easy to navigate. We still need over $50,000 to make this happen.”

3. Ask for donations and state a suggested amount

If you need to raise a large amount of money, offer different levels of monetary support.

“Please consider a donation to the Band. Your donation of $25 will be enough to pay for one student’s seat on the bus for one game or trip. $250 will support a student for our entire season.”

“If each family in our parish could donate just five extra dollars this week, we would be able to restore our art to its usual glory.”

“The committee is asking for $50 donations from businesses on this end of town to help underwrite the cost of the work.”

4. Offer recognition.

Everyone likes to be rewarded. Make sure donors know they are appreciated.

“ABC Signs has offered to donate a plaque with each sponsors’ name inscribed.”

“Make sure to write ‘Art Cleaning’ on the memo of your check, as we will thank each family who donates in next week’s bulletin.”

“For every $50 your business donates, you will receive a ticket to the Chamber of Commerce Winter Banquet this year.”

5. Make donating easy.

Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelop or arrange for online donations. The more work someone has to do, the less likely they are to give.

6. Keep it short and keep it thankful.

A fundraising letter of one page or less is most likely to be read. Any longer than that and you risk boring your reader or being put in a pile “to be read later”.

Be sure to end your letter by thanking the recipient for their support and time. End on a friendly note so that the donor is happy to have received the letter and thinks well of your organization, even if they are unable to give money right away.

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