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What are fundraising letters?
Fundraising letters communicate your organization’s needs and give your recipients information about how they can help. This is an optimal chance to share your story, demonstrate your organization’s impact, and gain support for your mission.
Explore how you can best leverage fundraising letters by using the navigation below:
Fundraising Letter Templates
Use the buttons below to quickly navigate to a Fundraising Letter Template!
How to Write a Fundraising Letter
As you explore how to write a donation request letter, it’s important to follow a few key steps in order to write the most compelling and effective letter possible. These steps include:
- Address your recipient personally. By addressing your recipient by name, they won’t feel like they are one of many recipients reading this letter. Be sure to personalize your outreach so each reader knows you value their individual support.
- Tell a story. Engage your reader in the issue or problem your organization is working to address with a story. Give details about the people you’re trying to help so it’s clear how they can benefit from a donation.
- Define the problem. Clearly outline the larger issues and problems you’re facing. Be as straightforward as possible when doing this. Be as straightforward as possible when doing this.
- Explain your mission and outline your goal. Explain your goal and how it fits into your overall mission. Your readers should understand how their donations will be used and who will benefit from them. Make sure to clearly explain the impact of the campaign and how it will make a difference.
- Explain how your donor can make an impact. Before donors give, they want to know exactly how their donation will make a difference in the world. You’ve defined a problem for them; explain how their donation will solve the problem.
- Call the reader to action. Explain the urgency of the situation so you can convince your readers to act quickly. Mention what your nonprofit has already done to address the problem and note the progress your current fundraiser is making.
In addition to following these steps, be sure to focus on the “you” and “we” in your letter, but mostly the “you.” Your outreach should be about your reader and the impact they can make, and should directly appeal to them. “You” and “we” are important and provide a touch of human interest to your letter.
How long should a fundraising letter be?
A fundraising letter should be concise. One page is a great length, bu some stories take a little longer to tell. You may also include extra materials (such as information about matching gifts, additional details about your organization, etc.). If you decide to make your fundraising letter longer than one page, be sure donors know what actions you want them to take by the end of the first page.
How should you send a fundraising letter?
Fundraising letters can be sent through a variety of channels, though some of the most effective ones are via email and direct mail. In order to personalize your outreach, you’ll want to make sure your letters are addressed to a specific individual, which can be accomplished through email and direct mail.
Why are fundraising letters important?
Fundraising letters are important because they give you an opportunity to demonstrate your financial needs, get donors involved with your cause, tell your emotional story, and create a long-term relationship with your supporter
Fundraising Letter Examples
In order to get you started with your drafting, we’ve written some fundraising letter examples for different scenarios surrounding different types of campaigns.
Standard Donation Request Template
If you’re asking for donations, you’ll need to have a standard format that can be used as a baseline for all of your other donation request letters. This letter should be:
This template is generic, but your fundraising letters should be segmented depending on your relationship with the recipient. First-time donors should receive different letters than major gift donors, one-time donors should get different letters than recurring donors, and so forth.
This letter is quite short and gets right to the point of asking for a donation. Your letter will obviously be more specific and detailed depending on your mission and the projects that you’re fundraising for. You can also add a P.S. message. Most readers absorb a letter in this order: the salutation, the P.S. message, and then the body of the letter. Since the P.S. is the second thing they read, it’s important that you use it to make an impact. It’s the perfect place to reiterate your call to action (where you ask people to give, volunteer, or whatever else you want them to do).
Be sure to also include a pre-addressed and stamped envelope to make it easy for your readers to give!
Individual Sponsorship Request Template
Sponsorship letters are similar to standard donation letters. The only difference is that sponsorships are usually tied to events like marathons, walk-a-thons, and fun runs.
The request for sponsorship might also have a reward or incentive attached, such as:
- The sponsor’s name included in promotional items and advertising materials.
- Certain merchandise related to the event.
- Seats or tickets to the event.
As with the standard donation request template, this sponsorship request template can be tailored to fit your organization’s needs. You should always include more information about the event itself and what sponsors will be able to receive in exchange for their donations. Remember, though, to keep this donor-centric, especially if the recipient has sponsored your event or supported you in other ways in the past.
Volunteer Time Request Template
A volunteer letter should focus on the work that a volunteer would be able to do should they choose to work with your organization. It should also let them know how their work will positively impact the people or community you support.
Volunteers are often more familiar with your organization due to their past involvement. If you’re writing a letter to someone that you know has a history of volunteering with your organization or other nonprofits, reference that involvement and thank them for their service.
Corporate Donation Request Template
Note that this letter asks for an in-person meeting with the leader of the organization. The company to which you’re writing may be hesitant to give money to a nonprofit they’ve never worked with before. In-person meetings are a good move even with organizations that have supported you in the past; most major donors prefer to handle their philanthropic conversations in person. That includes corporations and other businesses!
An in-person meeting can greatly help your fundraising efforts. It allows the business leader to ask questions, express concerns, and become more familiar with your organization.
Again, this letter can be modified to suit your organization’s mission and needs.
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Donation Request Template
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are one of the most effective ways for your nonprofit to raise money and spread the word about your mission online. Your supporters will launch personalized fundraising pages on behalf of your cause, and they’ll reach out to their personal networks to solicit gifts.
To give your peer-to-peer fundraising participants an idea of how to solicit these gifts, offer them a template like this one. By filling in the blanks, they’ll easily be able to craft effective and personalized solicitations.
When your participants sign up and start designing their fundraising page, you can consider sending out donation request templates like this one to help them get started. If you’re using Qgiv, these are easy to create! You can include them in your participants’ fundraising dashboards, which will give them instant access in the email section of their sharing tools.
Matching Gift Donation Request Template
Not all of your supporters know what matching gifts programs are, much less if their employer offers matching gifts. This is why your nonprofit should plan to send letters to your donors that outline the processes of checking eligibility and sending in a matching gift request to complete the process.
As you prepare to send your letters, use a matching gift database to determine which of your donors qualify for a matching gift. Then, create a donor segment list in your CRM of these special supporters.
Additionally, be sure to highlight that submitting this request will not require any further giving on their part. Underscore that submitting this request is the best way for them to maximize the impact of their original gift and is essentially free money for your cause.
School Fundraising Letter Template
Schools are among the most common nonprofit organizations out there with an incredibly wide range of constituents. This is why it’s so important that schools take their fundraising needs seriously and plan ahead for how they’ll request donations from community members.
To make your school’s fundraising efforts more effective, create templates for different kinds of donation letters based on the type of supporter you’re addressing. Perhaps you’re soliciting a gift from a parent of a current student; address them accordingly! Alternatively, you might want to draft a template of a solicitation addressed to an alumnus.
When creating your school fundraising letter template, your nonprofit should emphasize the impact your school has on the next generation of your community.
Church Fundraising Letter Template
In your church fundraising letters, be sure to put your congregation’s mission first and foremost. You’ll want to immediately address your congregant’s sense of commitment to your church and make the most out of your existing relationship with this individual.
Your reader may already make collection plate gifts each Sunday, so you’ll need to make the case for them to make a more targeted gift outside of these offerings. Be sure to tell them exactly how much you need to raise and how that funding will be put to work.
Always be wary of asking your community for gifts too frequently. One strategy to minimize the risk of over-asking for contributions is to switch off between fundraising groups. For example, in February you might send letters to older congregants asking for Valentine’s Day-related contributions, while in June you could contact parents of children in your church and ask for a gift to celebrate their kids’ summer vacation.
Animal Rescue Donation Letter Template
Animal rescue organizations serve an important role in your community, and you can share the importance of your work when writing a donation request letter. Additionally, you can tap into your readers’ emotional connection to animals to make the case for why they should give back.
In your letter, show supporters how their contributions will benefit specific animals. Personify the pets that you rescue and illustrate for your readers the massive impact they can make in an animal’s life if they decide to donate. In your letter, consider sharing an image of real-life animals saved by your rescue. Include a caption with their name and age as an added way to pull at your supporters’ heartstrings. After they donate, send a thank-you letter with a follow up on these pets to emphasize the impact of their donation.
Your animal rescue should also send tailored letters to different groups in your community. These could include individuals who adopted pets from your rescue, volunteers, or helpful members of the community who have dropped off lost or stray animals at your shelter.
Auction Item Donation Request Template
Auctions are great opportunities to raise significant funds for your organization, but procuring auction items can be tricky. Your goal should be to procure items that will be appealing and will encourage your attendees to bid. Be sure to share the types of auction items or experiences you’re looking for so donors understand what you need.
You can send these donation request letters to local businesses as well as other supporters of your organization and explain what the proceeds will go toward. Offer a compelling reason as to why they should contribute an item and make it clear who it will benefit.
How to Write a Fundraising Email
As mentioned earlier, email is an excellent channel through which you can send fundraising letters. The best part? All of the fundraising letter examples we’ve provided above can be shared via email!
However, when it comes to writing a fundraising email, it’s important to choose fundraising software that integrates with marketing tools. This will make it easy to segment your recipients and personalize your outreach without too much effort on your end.
Consider the following when writing a fundraising email:
- Organize your database. By segmenting your donors and tailoring your email marketing toward different groups, you’ll be more likely to retain more donors and increase donations. Providing relevant content to the appropriate segments can make a huge difference!
- Automate your outreach. Using email marketing tools, you can automate your emails to be sent out on a set schedule so that you can regularly connect with supporters.
- Use mail merge tools. Use mail merge tools to send personalized emails to your constituents, automatically inserting their preferred names into the corresponding fields.
- Guide recipients to your online forms. Since emails are digital, you can customize your messages to drive traffic to your online giving forms. Call readers to action and make it easy for them to navigate to the form and give.
Making sure your fundraising software works with email marketing tools is essential because it makes tracking donations and communicating with donors even easier. Fundraising emails are simple to organize and send, so be sure to leverage these tools to create the most effective outreach possible!