Fundraising Ideas for the Fund Raiser

Yellow Pages
Contact Information
Free Booklets
Fundraising Classifieds
Subscribe - Free
Fundraising ideas for a fundraiser Great new fundraising ideas for your next fundraiser
New Fundraisers FUNDRAISER OF THE MONTH "Looking for more fundraising choices?"

Make sure you get all this good fundraising info every time we publish a new article!

Your Name:

Your E-mail Address:

We promise never to sell, rent, or give your email address to anyone else. PERIOD!

Bookmark This Fundraiser Site
Share this Fundraising Site
Fundraising Feed Subscribe in a reader

Article Archive

Fundraising Auctions

Fundraising Calendar

Fundraising Events


Fundraising Ideas

Nonprofit Leadership

Fundraising Letters

Nonprofit Newsletters

Planned Giving


Fundraising Raffles

Fundraising Strategies



Fundraising Products, Services and Ideas

Fundraising Newsletter

Fundraising secrets, tips & hints

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.

When you quote people in your fundraising letters, you personalize your ask and lend immediacy, intimacy and authenticity to cold reality. When you capture dialogue and things people have said, you bring your "characters" to life on the page.

Direct quotations in your donation request letters also add credibility to your claims. They give donors another way of looking at your challenge (what novelists call point of view). And they establish tone (anger, frustration, fear, irony) in ways that you cannot without sounding forced.

"Alan," you are saying, "give us some examples!"


Imagine that in your fundraising letter for your diabetes association you are describing one of your clients, Clara Alveres, who is 71, has lived with type 1 diabetes for 50 years, and is in good health. You could string these facts out in a line as I just did. Or you could instead add credibility and warmth and personality to your letter by quoting Clara directly. Your sentence might look like this:

"Clara Alveres, 71, has lived with type 1 diabetes for 50 years. 'I've never felt better,' she says."

Or imagine that you're telling the story of Bill, who also has diabetes. You could tell your donors:

"Bill avoided diabetes complications?and ran a marathon?by following a simple recipe."

or you could instead bring Bill alive as a character by letting him tell your story:

"Just because diabetes runs in your family doesn't mean you can't run a marathon,' says Bill, who avoided diabetes complications by following a simple recipe, and completed the Boston Marathon in May."

According to Philip Gerard, author of Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life, quoting people adds texture beyond anything you can communicate as the author. Real voices of real people deepen your story. "Their words make it true," says Gerard.

© 2006 Alan Sharpe. Reprinted with permission.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
 Subscribe in a reader


About the Author:

About the Author: Alan Sharpe is a professional fundraising letter writer, instructor, author and newsletter publisher who helps non-profit organizations raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using cost-effective, compelling, creative fundraising letters. Sign up for free weekly tips like this at

Want to get more great fundraising information just like this?
Join our mailing list and we'll send you an email every time we publish a new article!

Your Name:

Your E-mail Address:

We promise never to sell, rent, or give your
email address to anyone else. PERIOD!

Editor's Picks

Fundraising Booklets
Cookiedough Fundraising
Scratchcard Fundraising
Safe Fundraising

Recommended Suppliers

Constant Contact
The gold standard in nonprofit email newsletter delivery. Custom newsletter templates, funding appeals, event updates & more. 20% nonprofit discount!

Recommended Books

7 Essential Steps to Raising Money by Mail
Learn with practical examples, detailed checklists, writing helps and other tools. Sample letters for different types of solicitations and for different nonprofit groups. A step by step guide to writing fundraising letters.

Silent Auction Guide & Toolkit
Learn how to create a successful silent auction fundraiser. Silent auction strategies, timelines, auction items and how to organize and display them, how to close an auction and take payments, and other add on fundraisers to boost the bottom line of your silent auction.

Let's Raise Money
The inside scoop about small group fundraising. Learn from the founder of a national fundraising company as he reveals secrets observed over nearly two decades of fundraising.
Read a Free Excerpt

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a 5K Run or Walk Fundraiser
Plan a successful race from scratch. Proven marketing strategies, find and manage volunteers, maximize revenues, recruit and motivate teams. Checklists, forms, speadsheets, worksheets all included.

Secrets of the Charity Auction Experts
Learn from the experts! Discover the best selling auction items. How to get auction items donated. How to boost attendance. How to get more bids and higher selling prices. How to coordinating volunteers, staff and auction consultants.

Grant Writing for Beginners
Learn how to quickly and easily establish relationships with regional foundations and build a strong base of grant support for your nonprofit.
Read a Free Excerpt

Index / Subscribe Free / Contact Info / Fundraising Yellow Pages
Fundraising Newsletter / Fundraising Booklets
Fundraising Classifieds / Fundraising Links

ISSN 1530-5813 - Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA
copyright © 1996 - 2010 all rights reserved Fund$Raiser Cyberzine