11 Successful Fundraising Letter Templates (and How to Write Them!)

Fundraising Practices

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Fundraising letters play a pivotal role in articulating your nonprofit’s needs, offering insight into how recipients can contribute and inviting them to join your cause. They serve as more than just appeals for financial assistance—they represent a unique opportunity to share your organization’s narrative, highlight the profound impact of every donation, and rally support for your mission.

With each letter, you not only share your story but also empower your donors to become catalysts for positive change, forging lasting connections and garnering invaluable backing for your endeavors!

Explore how you can best use fundraising letters below:

What is a fundraising letter?

A fundraising letter is a written appeal you can send out to potential donors to inform them of ways they can contribute to your current campaign and help create an impact on your cause. Fundraising request letters outline the purpose of the fundraising campaign, explain how donations will be used, and provide ways people can contribute.

Why are fundraising letters important?

Fundraising letters play a crucial role in nonprofit outreach efforts for several reasons. Firstly, they provide a platform to articulate your organization’s financial needs, allowing your donors to understand the specific areas where their contributions can make a difference. 

Additionally, these letters serve as a means to actively engage supporters of your cause, inviting them to participate in meaningful ways beyond mere financial support. 

Moreover, fundraising letters offer an opportunity to share the emotional narratives that underpin your organization’s mission, fostering a deeper connection with potential supporters. By illustrating the significance of your donors’ gifts, these letters emphasize the tangible impact of their contributions, reinforcing the importance of their involvement. 

Finally, fundraising letters contribute to the cultivation of long-term relationships with supporters, laying the foundation for ongoing engagement and collaboration in advancing your organization’s goals.

close up aerial view of two hands typing a fundraising letter on a computer keyboard

How fundraising letters can help you

Fundraising request letters help you personalize your message and connect with potential donors more directly because you can tailor your messaging to speak directly to the recipient’s motivations. You can also target specific demographics using donor segmentation to give you a better opportunity to reach supporters who are more likely to give.

Compared to other fundraising methods, fundraising letters can be a more cost-effective way to reach out to your donor base because they don’t require as many resources as an event or in-person campaign. In fact, email has one of the highest returns on investment of marketing channels used by nonprofits. You can also use email responses and website links to easily track how effective your fundraising campaign letters have been, which can help show you what works and what can be improved on.

Why you should use a fundraising letter template vs AI 

Fundraising letter templates provide a great foundation for what to send out to your supporters. Templates provide a customizable, pre-structured format that can help ensure you include all the necessary details in your fundraising letter, saving you time. 

On the other hand, AI can help you create a fundraising letter and other marketing materials, but still require you to personalize the letter after it’s generated to avoid the letters from feeling generic. This adds an extra step for your organization as fundraising letter templates have already been generated and are ready to be customized for your needs.

How long should a fundraising letter be?

Fundraising letters should be concise. Ideally, they should be no longer than one to two pages, but some stories take a little longer to tell. In most cases, it’s best to use precisely the number of words needed to define the problem and request donors’ support—no more, no less!

If your fundraising letter extends beyond one page, ensure that by the end of the first page, donors are clear about the actions you’re urging them to take.

How should you send a fundraising letter?

Fundraising letters can be distributed through various channels, with email and direct mail standing out as particularly effective methods. These communication channels allow for personalized communication by addressing letters to specific individuals, fostering deeper engagement. 

Additionally, fundraising request letters can be shared through social media platforms, posted on organizational websites, or distributed at in-person events. Regardless of the channel chosen, personalizing the outreach is essential for maximizing impact and building strong donor relationships.

Nonprofit fundraising letter best practices

As you explore how to write a great fundraising letter, it’s important to follow a few key steps to write the most compelling and effective letter possible.

Components of a fundraising letter

Before you start writing, here some key elements you should include in your fundraising request letters:

  • Introduction
  • Success story
  • The problem at hand
  • Your solution
  • Donation amount suggestion
  • Impact statement
  • How to donate
  • Conclusion  

1. Address your recipient personally.

By addressing your recipient by name, they won’t feel like they’re just one of many reading this letter. Be sure to personalize your outreach with names so each reader knows you value their individual support. 

2. Tell a story.

Show your reader the issue or problem your organization’s 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. 

3. Use “you” and “we” language.

In addition to following these steps, be sure to focus on the “you” and “we” language in your letter, but mostly focus on the “you.” Your outreach should be about your reader and the impact they can make, and it should directly appeal to them. Using “you” and “we” language is important and helps provide a touch of human interest to your fundraising letter.

4. Showcase gratitude.

Express sincere appreciation for the reader’s past support, if applicable, or interest in your cause. This acknowledgment reinforces their importance to your organization and fosters a sense of connection and gratitude.

5. Define the problem.

Clearly outline the larger issues and problems your clients are facing. Be as straightforward as possible when doing this. 

6. Explain your mission and outline your goal.

Explain your need 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 donor’s gift and how it will make a difference. 

7. Explain how your donor can make an impact.

Before donors give, they want to know exactly how their donation will make an impact on the world. You’ve already defined a problem for them—explain how their donation will solve the problem with specific actions. For example, if you’re raising money for an animal shelter, you can specify that a donation of $50 will provide food for X number of pets! 

8. Create a sense of urgency.  

Highlight the immediate need or deadline for fundraising, emphasizing the critical impact of timely donations. Mention the impact of your other donors’ gifts and the progress your current fundraiser is making. Urgency prompts action and motivates readers to respond promptly to your call to action.

9. Highlight multiple giving options.

Offer various ways for donors to contribute, such as online donations, recurring gifts, in-kind gifts, or volunteering opportunities. Providing flexibility in giving empowers donors to choose the option that best aligns with their preferences and capabilities.

10. Personalize the closing.

End the letter with a personalized sign-off that resonates with the reader. Whether it’s a handwritten note, a signature from a prominent figure within your organization, or a heartfelt closing statement, personalized closings leave a lasting impression and reinforce the authenticity of your message.

Nonprofit fundraising email best practices and tips

As mentioned earlier, email is an excellent channel through which you can send fundraising requests. The best part? All of the fundraising letter examples we’ve provided above can be easily 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: 

1. 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! 

2. 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. 

3. Use mail merge tools.

Use mail merge tools to send personalized emails to your constituents, automatically inserting their preferred names into the corresponding fields. 

4. Perform A/B Testing.

Experiment with different email subject lines, content formats, or call-to-action buttons through A/B testing. Analyzing performance metrics allows for data-driven optimization of email campaigns to maximize engagement and donation conversion rates.

5. Optimize for mobile.

Ensure that fundraising emails are optimized for viewing on mobile devices, as a significant portion of recipients may access emails via smartphones or tablets. Mobile-responsive designs enhance readability and user experience, increasing the likelihood of recipient engagement and donation completion.

6. 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!

Fundraising letter templates

To kickstart your drafting process, we’ve crafted fundraising letter samples tailored to the most common scenarios and campaign types.

Standard donation request letter

Check out this standard donation request letter template that you can adapt to your specific organization.

Download this letter!

If you’re asking for donations, you need to have a standard format that can be used as a baseline for all of your other fundraising letters. This letter should be:

  • Donor-centric
  • Personalized
  • Concise

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 contribution. Your letter will obviously be more specific and detailed depending on your mission and the projects your campaign will fund.

You should also add a P.S. message. Here’s why: most readers absorb a letter in a specific order. The order is as follows: donors read the salutation first, then 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 letter

Check out this fundraising letter template of an individual sponsorship request letter.

Download this letter!

Sponsorship letters are similar to standard fundraising letters. The only difference is that sponsorships are usually tied to events like marathons, walkathons, bikeathons and fun runs.

The request for sponsorship might also have a reward or incentive attached, such as:

  • The sponsor’s name is included in promotional items and advertising materials.
  • Certain merchandise related to the event.
  • Seats or tickets to the event.

If you really want to make an impression on potential sponsors, ask them what incentives they’d like before sending the appeal. They may have ideas you’ve never considered!

As with the standard fundraising 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 receive in exchange for their donations. Remember to keep this donor-centric, especially if the recipient has sponsored your event or supported you in other ways in the past. If they have supported you in the past, make sure to reference that early gift and thank them for their past involvement.

Volunteer time request letter

Check out this donation request letter of a volunteer time request template.

Download this letter!

A volunteer request letter should focus on the work that a volunteer might 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 if they’ve been involved in the past. If you’re writing a letter to someone that you know has a history of volunteering with your organization or other nonprofits, you should reference that involvement and thank them for their service.

Corporate donation request letter

Check out this corporate donation request letter template.

Download this letter!

Note that this corporate sponsorship 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—and with you! Donors prefer to give to people rather than organizations, even if they’re part of a big company. Your face-to-face meeting will make them much more likely to give.

Corporate sponsorship letter rewards and incentives

A corporate sponsorship request might also have rewards and incentives such as:

  • Brand exposure: Logo placement on promotional materials, event signage, and advertising campaigns, increasing brand visibility.
  • Networking opportunities: Exclusive access to networking events, galas, or conferences hosted by the nonprofit, fostering connections with industry leaders.
  • VIP treatment: Reserved seating or VIP tickets to nonprofit events, offering an elevated experience for sponsors.
  • Recognition and appreciation: Public acknowledgment during speeches, presentations, or award ceremonies at nonprofit events, highlighting the sponsor’s contribution.
  • Branding opportunities: Opportunities for brand integration or product placement at nonprofit events, enhancing brand exposure.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives: Participation in volunteer opportunities, community service projects, or philanthropic initiatives, aligning with the sponsor’s CSR goals.
  • Customized packages: Tailored sponsorship packages designed to meet specific marketing objectives and budgetary constraints, maximizing value for sponsors.

If you really want to make an impression on potential sponsors, ask them what incentives they’d like before sending the appeal. They may have ideas you’ve never considered!

Peer-to-peer fundraising donation request letter

Check out our peer-to-peer fundraising donation request letter template.

Download this letter!

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, then reach out to their personal networks to solicit gifts from friends, family, and coworkers.

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 can easily craft effective and personalized solicitations.

When your participants sign up and start designing their fundraising page, consider providing fundraising 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 to the email section of their sharing tools.

Matching gift donation request letter

Check out our matching gift donation request letter template.

Download this letter!

It’s rare for all of your supporters to know what matching gifts programs are, much less if their employers offer matching gifts. This is why your nonprofit should plan to send matching gift fundraising letters with supplemental information to recent donors. These letters can outline how to check eligibility and send 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 the fact that submitting this request will not require any further giving on their part. 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

Check out this school fundraising letter template.

Download this letter!

Schools are among the most common nonprofit organizations out there, and they generally have 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 contributions from community members.

To make your school’s fundraising efforts more effective, create templates for different kinds of fundraising 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 its current students and the next generation of your community.

Church fundraising letter

Check out this church fundraising letter template.

Download this letter!

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 the 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

Check out this fundraising letter template of an animal request donation letter.

Download this letter!

Animal rescue organizations serve an important role in your community, and you can share the importance of your work when writing a fundraising 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 the pet’s 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 letter

Check out this fundraising letter template of an auction item donation request letter.

Download this letter!

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 are 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 fundraising 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.

fundraising donor acknowledgement letter

Donation acknowledgment letters

Check out this fundraising letter template for a donation acknowledgement letter template.

Download this letter!

If your initial fundraising letter is successful and a supporter gives to your cause or participates in an event, it’s imperative that you show your appreciation with an acknowledgment letter. Without your donors, your organization would not be able to develop important programs and fund life changing projects that impact your cause. 

Sending out acknowledgment letters does more than just thank your supporters! It also helps promote a healthy and positive relationship between your organization and donors, setting up a solid foundation for future engagement. Remember to send your letter soon after the donation is made so the engagement is fresh in the donor’s mind. 

A simple thank you letter also can encourage donors to give again, increasing your donor retention rates. When a donor gives a second time, it is often called the “golden donation.” According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Report, only 19% of new donors will give again. But once that donor completes the “golden donation,” 63% will give again, increasing their chance of becoming a lifelong giver.

When writing your acknowledgment letter, keep in mind the same guidelines from your fundraising letter. Remember to be donor-centric, personalized, and concise! Use their first name and even include specific donation details.

You can easily convert this template to an email form as well. To maximize the impact of donor acknowledgment emails, your fundraising software should integrate with your marketing and communications tool. This way, you can automate the process. As soon as supporters make their gift, your marketing tool will send out a thank you email personalized to that donor.

ai for fundraising letters silhouette with butterflies

Using AI to generate fundraising letters

Need a fast way to get first drafts started for fundraising letters that don’t appear in this blog post? Using artificial intelligence programs like ChatGPT can be beneficial to your nonprofit. These programs comb the internet for answers to your typed prompts and then write the first draft of your letters for you.

AI may not be able to match your organization’s voice and tone perfectly, but it provides a great head start toward writing a polished and effective letter to your supporters.

ChatGPT screenshot creating a fundraising appeal for Lakeland food bank.

For example, the prompt above was created in ChatGPT and resulted in a 500-word fundraising appeal for a specific campaign for Lakeland Food Bank, an example nonprofit organization created at Qgiv for testing purposes.

ChatGPT can also be used to generate thank you letters to express your gratitude. Like the fundraising appeal, it may not get your voice and tone exactly right on the first try, so be sure to edit the results you receive before sending them out. But by using ChatGPT prompts, you can save a ton of time in creating email and print appeals and thank-yous to send to your supporters.

ChatGPT prompts for fundraising letters

Want to make using ChatGPT easier for your nonprofit? Use the prompt templates below to get started producing fundraising appeal letters of every kind.

  • Write a compelling fundraising appeal for [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s upcoming [Campaign Name]. Highlight the impact of donations on [Specific Cause or Program].
  • Craft a heartfelt letter requesting support for [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s mission to [Mission Statement or Objective]. Emphasize the importance of community involvement in achieving our goals.
  • Create a personalized fundraising letter addressing [Recipient Name] to solicit their generous contribution to [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s initiatives. Share stories of impact and transformation.
  • Develop an engaging fundraising pitch for [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s [Campaign Name], focusing on the urgent need for financial support to [Address Specific Issue or Challenge].
  • Draft a sincere thank-you letter to express gratitude to our donors for their ongoing support of [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s efforts. Share stories of how their contributions are making a difference.
  • Write an impactful fundraising letter to potential donors, illustrating the tangible outcomes of their donations in terms of [Beneficiaries or Impact Areas].
  • Compose a compelling appeal letter to inspire donors to contribute to [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s emergency relief fund, highlighting the critical need for immediate assistance in [Affected Area or Crisis Situation].
  • Craft a persuasive fundraising message for our upcoming [Event Name], inviting donors to participate in supporting [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s mission through event sponsorship or individual contributions.
  • Develop a heartfelt appeal letter to rally support for [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s educational programs, underscoring the transformative power of education in [Target Community or Population].
  • Create a captivating fundraising letter to engage potential donors in supporting [Nonprofit Organization Name]’s sustainability initiatives, emphasizing the long-term impact of environmental conservation efforts.

These prompts can serve as a starting point for your team to generate compelling fundraising letters using ChatGPT, tailored to your specific campaigns, initiatives, and donor audiences.

Final thoughts

Your fundraising letters can be a great help when it comes to raising money for your organization, so long as you’re following fundraising letter best practices. Personalize your letters, tell compelling stories, define the problem, explain your mission, outline your goals, share how your donors can make an impact, and call the reader to action.

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