Sure, you double (and triple!) check your fundraising letter for spelling and grammar errors, but do you check that it is written to raise the most money possible?
Read your finished letter again, and this time, fill out our Better Letter Checklist as you go. You may be surprised how much you can improve your results by making a few small changes.
Pay particular attention to these check boxes:
Appeals to emotions via narrative
Instead of overloading your fundraising letter with facts about your organization, use a story that demonstrates why these facts matter. It will make the donor’s impact tangible, personal, and emotional.
If you’ve written “Last year, we provided food, shelter, and hope to over 1200 members of our community…” instead try “After losing his job and his home, Bob had given up hope—until he felt true compassion from neighbors like you who provided him with food, shelter, and the courage to get back on his feet.”
Uses a limited vocabulary, short sentences, and paragraphs
Edit out extra adjectives or adverbs, verbal crutches, circumlocutions. While it may seem that removing all these words is “dumbing the letter down,” remember that your donors are busy and donors are letter scanners. Even the most educated of readers will appreciate a letter that doesn’t take long to read and gets to the point. Your fundraising letter can still motivate donors to action without those extra eloquent adjectives and corporate words.
Asks for a specific amount, not just for “support”
Let’s be honest. It’s an appeal letter. Your readers know you’re asking them for money, so there is no need to dance around the ask with phrases like “your support.” The call to action must be direct to ensure that the donor does take action. When you use a specific ask with a dollar amount, you take the guess work out of donating—and by asking for it today, you create a sense of urgency.
Reminds the donor of the benefits of giving
Donors make your organization’s work possible. Being credited as “supporters” is not always enough to fulfill the emotional motivating factors which move donors to give. An appeal letter must reinforce their impact through phrases like “Thanks to you…” and “But without you…” that give donors credit for the good work being done. After all, your letter is not about your organization—it’s about the donor.
Still need help with your fundraising letter?
After editing your letter content, if you still have trouble checking off some of these boxes, give us a call to learn more about the copywriting, copyediting and design services we offer here at Five Maples.
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Five Maples helps fundraisers save time, raise more money, and enjoy doing it! Give us a call today for a free consultation. Call Brett, our Director of Nonprofit Practice, at 800-437-7780 ext 102, or Email Us Today!