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Fundraising Letters, Donation Requests, and Fundraiser Solicitations (including examples)

Below you will find all of our past articles to help you with writing fundraising letters, donation requests, and fundraiser solicitations - including examples for you to use. It is a long list of articles so don't hesitate to bookmark this page and come back often. If you would like more great fundraising information in the future then please sign up for an email notification whenever we publish a new article.



How to Write a Donation Thank-you Letter by Alan Sharpe

Thank-you letters are one of the most important letters that your non-profit mails to donors. They remind donors that they made the right decision in supporting your organization. They show that you are grateful for the donors gift. As a bonus, thank-you letters increase donor loyalty, strengthen relationships with your donors and increase your chances of receiving more gifts in the future. So here are some pointers for writing effective thank-you letters.

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Fundraising Letter Writing Tips from Readerís Digest by Alan Sharpe

If your donor has the choice of reading your fundraising letter or reading the latest issue of Readerís Digest, which one will she read?

This is not a trick question. The competition for your donorís attention has never been greater. If you want your donors and members to read your fundraising letters from start to finish, learn a few lessons from the editors at Readerís Digest, the largest-selling magazine in the world.

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Email Fundraising Must Inspire Donors to Go Online by Alan Sharpe

Sending an email with no links to follow is like mailing a direct mail appeal without enclosing a reply device or return envelope. Costly.

Email fundraising only works when you inspire donors to go online. Online is where you get their donation. Online is where you secure their advocacy. Online is where you encourage their involvement. Thatís why your email appeals, alerts and newsletters must give donors something to do, and must give them somewhere to go to do it. That place is your website.

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Successful Fundraising Letters Give Your Donors Conflict by Alan Sharpe

Your fundraising letters will be more dramatic if you write them like a novel.

Every good novel follows a simple outline: conflict, development, resolution. The novel opens with a main character in conflict. The main character deals with the conflict. The story ends with the conflict being resolved.

Read more here



Direct Mail Fundraising is a Program, Not a Campaign by Alan Sharpe

Before they hired me as their director of development, and before they ran out of money and laid me off, a non-profit organization whose name is unmentionable ran an unmentionable direct mail program.

It wasnít a program as much as a series of last-minute campaigns. One particularly notorious campaign ran the Christmas before they hired me. As the inflexible deadline loomed to get their last donor newsletter of the year into the mail, the staff procrastinated and ....

Read more here



Measure Your Success in Direct Mail Fundraising with Just Four Numbers by Alan Sharpe

A while back I realized that measuring the effectiveness of direct mail fundraising campaigns is a lot easier than Iíd thought.

I was confused by all the formulas and ratios, and was never sure which numbers were more important than the others. Cost Per Piece, Cost to Raise a Dollar, Return On Investment, Average Gift, all of these and at least six other metrics kept me in a state of anxious ignorance. I was never sure where I needed to start my calculations.

Now I know, and I thought Iíd pass on to you what I discovered in what I suppose I could call an epiphany ....

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Donation Request Letters Must Give Donors a Reason to Give Again by Alan Sharpe

I have on my desk a direct mail fundraising appeal from a hospital that I once supported with a donation. I gave them a gift of $20 as an experiment, to see how, and how often, they would write back.

Across the front of this envelope are these words: ďYour 2007 Annual Renewal.Ē

A phrase like that wouldnít normally surprise me, or disappoint me, but it did when this package dropped through my mailbox back in February because that was the first time Iíd heard from this hospital since I made my donation. And I made my donation last year. In 2006. June 12th, to be exact.

So do the math. I did ....

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Email Fundraising Subject Lines: Use Todayís News Headlines to Boost Open Rates by Alan Sharpe

If you want to increase the number of people who read your email fundraising letters and email newsletters, put todayís headlines in your email subject lines.

Paris Hilton is in the news right now because she is in jail right now. Sheís behind bars because she drove drunk while her license was suspended for drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving made good use of Paris Hiltonís celebrity status and newsworthiness in an email appeal dated May 13, 2007.

Their subject line? ďHelp MADD stop the 500,000 Paris Hiltons.Ē

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Fundraising Letters Must Tell Great Stories (Three Samples) by Alan Sharpe

If your fundraising letter doesnít tell a great story, itís not a fundraising letter. Itís a memo. Direct mail fundraising is all about storytelling.

If you want your direct mail donors to respond to your letters in greater numbers and with larger gifts, learn the craft of storytelling. Learn how to write human-interest stories that inspire, motivate and move your donorsóto give.

As a gospel preacher and one-time university instructor, Iíve learned over the years that the safest way to make your point stick is to tell a story. As UK fundraising consultant Ken Burnett observes in his book, The Zen of Fundraising, fundraisers should tell stories because ďwe have some of the best stories in the world and the best reasons of all for telling them.Ē

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Improve Fundraising Letters by Translating Statistics Into Stories by Alan Sharpe

The secret to writing compelling fundraising letters is to tell great stories. Relevant, moving, inspiring stories, well told. But how do you find these great stories in the first place?

The keyword here is relevance. Your stories must be relevant to your mission and case for support. A great story thatís off topic will entertain your donors but not your chief financial officer. So make sure you tell stories that illustrate the difference you make in the world.

The first place I look for a great story is the statistics pile. Every organization has one. Hospitals track patient visits. Animal welfare charities track endangered species. Social services organizations track meals served. Behind these cold statistics I look for a warm human-interest story ....

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Fundraising Letters - Are You Too Small for Direct Mail Donor Acquisition? by Alan Sharpe

Some non-profit organizations should not use direct mail as a way to attract new donors. Is your organization one of them? Take this simple test and find out.

Read more here



Approaches for Writing to Lapsed Members from The Membership Management Report

Rather than have one standard letter directed to lapsed members, encouraging them to renew their membership, create an in-house menu of key messages from which you can choose when composing letters for this important group.

Being able to refer to such a menu will make it easier to vary your message from time to time and select the most compelling wording for that situation. To help get started, consider these examples of messages for lapsed members:

Read more here



Year-End Fundraising Letter Appeals: 10 Tips to Give Them a Boost at Christmas by Alan Sharp

If your non-profit organization is like many others, you receive half or more or your contributed income at the end of the year as part of what used to be called the "Christmas Appeal." In recent years it has come to be known as, in politically correct North America at least, the "Year-End Appeal" or "Seasonal Appeal."

Which means your year-end appeal letter can make or break your year, financially speaking. Here are some tips on how to craft a winning year-end fundraising letter appeal package.

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Boost Response Rates and Income with Appealing Fundraising Letter Envelopes by Alan Sharpe

Writing a terrific fundraising letter is a waste of time if your donor throws your entire package in the trash unopened. And that happens more often than any of us dare to think about. That's why your envelope is so crucial to your success.

Your envelope serves two functions and two alone. It must:

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Seven Different Fundraiser Letters by Ugur Akinci

Fundraising letters come in many varieties. Before asking your copywriter to draft a fundraiser letter for your organization, perhaps you might want to consider the possibilities (credits go to Mal Warwick, an acknowledged master of fundraiser letters):

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Free Sample Donation Thank-You Letter for Fundraising Gift or Contribution by Alan Sharpe

The most important letter in direct mail fundraising never asks for a donation. Thank-you letters increase donor loyalty, strengthen relationships and increase your chances of receiving more gifts in the future, including major gifts and legacy gifts. But only if you get them right.

Direct mail fundraising is about relationships, not revenue. The only way to generate sustainable income through the mail is to thank donors promptly, personally, particularly and positively.

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Step By Step Guide to Writing a Fundraising Letter by Sandra Sims

One of the best ways to raise money when you're participating in a run/walk event is a fundraising letter. This is also one of the easiest fundraisers! You are simply writing a letter to family and friends asking them to join you in supporting a worthy charity. Your only costs are for paper and postage, so all of the proceeds go directly to the cause.

Letters asking for a financial gift work especially well for organizations that support a specific cause. This includes groups such as health advocacy, hunger or disaster relief, and public arts such as museums and symphonies. These are groups that people can easily identify as contributing to the community and the world.

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Are Your Fundraising Letters Too Short? by Alan Sharpe

Casanova never penned a one-page love letter. So neither should you.

I write fundraising letters for some of the most well-known non-profits in North America, and not one of them has ever hired me to write a one-page fundraising letter. They know from testing that donors read two-page letters. And four-page letters. Even eight-page letters. Donors read what interests them, and not a word more ...

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Database Direct Mail Fundraising: Improve Personalization Results with Detective Work by Alan Sharpe

Next time you are arrested, pay attention to what information the police officer asks you to divulge immediately. Itís not a lot.

Name?

Address?

Date of birth?

These are the three vital questions that every police officer ...

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Not All Wealthy Direct Mail Donors Live in Upscale Neighbourhoods by Alan Sharpe

If you look for wealthy donors in all the usual places youíll receive the usual result.

Disappointment.

Why not learn a lesson from the authority on the wealthy, Thomas Stanley? When the author of The Millionaire Next Door and other books about millionaires began studying these folks and how they got rich, he figured the best place to find millionaires to interview was ...

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Look for Tightwads, Not Millionaires in Direct Mail Donor Acquisition by Alan Sharpe

Most first-generation millionaires are tightwads. They arenít rich because of how much they spend but because of how much they save.

If you need to find millionaires who will donate a large sum of money to your non-profit organization, look for tightwads, not millionaires.

In research that he conduced of American millionaires, Thomas Stanley discovered that the majority of American millionaires donít drive expensive imported cars. In fact, they donít drive ...

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Boost Response by Not Including a Reply Envelope by Alan Sharpe

Your donors do not respond to your direct mail appeals because you include a postage-paid reply envelope. They respond because they believe in your cause, admire your organization, and want to help the people you serve.

Postage-paid reply envelopes are a convenience. Nothing more. They tend to boost response because they make giving by mail easier. Your donor doesnít have to hunt for an envelope, search for a pen, find your address on your letterhead and then copy that address onto the envelope, then hunt for a stamp.

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How to Write a Fundraising Letter by Linda Elizabeth Alexander

The key to a successful fundraising campaign is writing a good letter. This may sound intimidating at first, but fundraising letters contain many of the same elements as any good sales letter.

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Write Better Fundraising Letters by Making a Scene by Alan Sharpe

Successful fundraising letters are exciting to read. They take you to crack houses, battlefields, logging protests, prisons, floods and other places you will never set foot yourself. Effective donation request letters show you the organizations you support engaged on the front lines in the battle to right wrongs, correct injustices and make the world a better place. They put you in the thick of the action. And they usually do this by making a scene.

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Do Your Donors Hear Voices (in Your Fundraising Donation Request Letters)? by Alan Sharpe

Fundraising letters are about people. People talk. So your fundraising letters should include the voices of people.

In a novel, the characters come alive only after you hear them talk. What they say, how they say it, when they say it, where they say it, and to whom they say it, deepens the meanings of the story and reveals things about the characters that cannot be explained in other ways.

Even when your fundraising appeal letter seems to be about preserving old growth forests, banning handguns or buying a mobile heart monitor, somewhere in the middle of your appeal are people. They may be staff, volunteers, clients, victims or someone else. Let your donors hear these people talking and you'll immediately make your letters more interesting and readable.

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Raising Funds By Mail For Your Nonprofit Using An Annual Direct Mail Program by Berwyn J. Kemp

A good annual direct mail solicitation program can produce unrestrictive operating funds for your nonprofit organization year after year. And such an annual direct mail program, if done right, will produce more funding for your organization each year.

There are very few nonprofit organizations that couldn't benefit from an effective, and ongoing direct mail solicitation program.

If you're currently using annual direct mail solicitations and would like to use it more effectively, or if you're not using this form of fundraising but would like to set up such a program, Your nonprofit group should look into this.

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Fundraising Letters Are Easier to Write with AIDA by Alan Sharpe

Learn a lesson from professional direct mail copywriters. They follow a time-tested format in their sales letters, a format that you can also follow when writing direct mail fundraising letters for your non-for-profit organization. All you need to remember is AIDA.

AIDA is an acrostic for the four things you need to do, and the order you need to do them in, to write compelling donation request letters.

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Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Ask Anyone For A Direct Mail Donation by Alan Sharpe

I have a brother-in-law who farms and drives a 16-wheeler for a living. When I told him that I start each business day with a blank computer screen that I must fill with at least 1,000 words by noon, he almost fainted. He says he could never do it because he wouldnít know where to start.

But the same goes for me when it comes to pulling the engine out of a John Deere 6020 Series tractor. My brother-in-law is correct, of course. You canít write an effective fundraising letter unless you know where to start.

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Fundraising Letter Reply Devices: Are You Making These Mistakes? by Alan Sharpe

Fundraising letter reply devices - also known as reply coupons, donation coupons, reply slips, response forms and gift forms - are the instruments that conclude your request for funds. If your reply device doesn't work, your appeal letter doesn't work - and you don't get the gift.

Here are some tips for getting your reply devices right.

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Do Your Donation Request Letters Speak to Someone Or to Everyone? by Alan Sharpe

The secret to success in direct mail fundraising is to write to an individual, not to a list. Write to someone, not to everyone. Take this short quiz to discover if your appeal letters are personal or impersonal.

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