Charity / Fundraising Letter

If you work for a non-profit, you’ve probably been the person who has to send out the dreaded “fundraiser” letter at some point. It’s a difficult job and it’s even more difficult if you don’t have a firm grasp of what you should be doing with it. A fundraising letter is written by an individual or company to another individual or company to provide them with details of your work, your goals, and seeking out their help in the form of financial aid. In the letter, you explain why you need the financial assistance and how it will help you achieve your goal and why it will benefit society.

The most difficult part of this is making sure that you communicate with your audience clearly and concisely. Using a template as a guide can make things clearer and easier. While it might seem like a daunting task, a charity letter isn’t at all as scary as it may seem on the outside.

Types of Charity / Fundraising Letters

There are a variety of types of fundraising letters that you may come across while writing or receiving them. These are a few of the most common:
  • A Personal Fundraising Letter: A personal fundraising letter raises money for you specifically. These are often sent out by people who are seeking to fund a mission trip or a trip with their high school or college for a learning experience. Some students even use these to attend prestigious camps. These usually ask for funds for a specific individual rather than an organization.
  • Campaign Fundraising Letter: Campaign fundraising letters are sent our a lot by politicians and it is even more common to get a phone call for donations during an election year. These funds go toward funding a specific candidate to an office. It can often require millions of dollars to attain a public office, so these contributions, no matter how small, are largely important to large campaigns and bids for office.
  • Cancer Fundraising Letter: A cancer fundraising letter can come in one of two forms. The first form is as an appeal to support a cancer foundation. Sometimes, individuals send these out when they will be doing a run or an event for a cancer research foundation, such as the Race for the Cure. Other times, they are from individuals or someone supporting an individual who cannot afford their cancer treatments and they are seeking assistance in paying for them. Often, these donations go to a really good cause and are nothing to be wary of.
  • Storefront Fundraising Letter: These are seen especially on platforms like Gofundme. A storefront fundraising letter is seeking to gain money to open up a store. The loans that are often required to open brick and mortar stores are immense, so, fundraising to open a store is often the next best thing. Usually, people are promised incentives to donate to these causes.

Tips for Writing a Charity Letter

  • Only send a fundraising letter after a thank you. If you send a fundraising letter before thanking a donor for previous donations, it usually is not well-received. While a fundraising letter can reinforce your appreciation, it does not replace the need for a thank you letter.
  • Cater to your audience. Make sure to keep in mind who you are writing to. Are these previous donors? Are they new potential donors? What kind of gift will you be receiving? It is often better to cater the letter to the person who you are writing to.
  • Include the ability to respond. Make sure that you send your donors a way to reply, for instance a self-addressed envelope. It may also be a good idea to include the option to donate a certain amount per month. This also suggests appropriate amounts for people to donate to your organization.
  • Be friendly. Approaching someone begging for money is the most likely way to get turned down for a donation. Make your letter friendly and personal, as if you have known the person for years. If it’s difficult to write or doesn’t sound like something you would normally say, it isn’t the right letter to send to potential donors.
  • Include a P.S. This can allow you to reinforce your message or add additional information for donors that ends the letter on a positive note.
  • Be authentic. Use a real signature, not a stamp or a pretty font. This shows the potential donors the importance of them donating to your organization. It’s also something that people recognize as an additional and more personalized step.

How To Write a Charity / Fundraising Letter

Writing fundraising letters isn’t always easy, but there are a few steps that can make it much easier.
  • Make sure to utilize “you” when writing. This makes your donors feel like you are speaking directly to them. It will also let them know that they are making a difference.
  • Talk about how and who their gift will benefit. If you talk about the benefits to the community or to specific groups of people, it does not make donors or potential donors feel like you are begging for money, but, rather that they are making a difference. Using the word “needs” can have a negative impact on the amount and willingness of a person to give.
  • Ask for money up front. If you want someone to make a $100 donation or a monthly pledge, say so up front. Tell them what you need, not just vaguely reference their “gift”.
  • Use simple words. This is more personable and friendly. This letter should be easy to understand rather than a struggle for potential donors to get through.

Charity Letter Format

Date

Your Name

Your Organization’s Name

Street Address

City, State, ZIP

Dear (Donor’s Name- First only!):

(Begin with an emotional appeal. For instance, a success story from your organization. This should tug at your donor’s heartstrings while only being 2-4 sentences in length.)

Our community is facing (problem that your organiation is trying to fix) at a catastrophic level. While we are actively seeking solutions, such as our (insert solutions your organization is currently attempting), we need your help to make our efforts extend even further!

You can help us to stomp out this crisis! Your support is crucial to our efforts to solve (the problem that your organization is working toward resolving).

If you are able to help us once again, we would love for you to make a donation of (reasonable amount) today. Your donation with fund (project that you are currently trying to raise money for) and support our community.

Thank you in advance for your contribution. Your donation will go toward more success stories like the one that you have read today.

Here are some ways in which you may make a donation:

  • Donate online at (insert your web URL)
  • Call us at (insert your organization’s donation line or a number of someone who will help with donations)
  • Send us a check in the included pre-stamped envelope
  • Text (keyword) to (text-to-give phone number)

Thank you again and we look forward to working with you this year!

Sincerely,

(insert your real signature here)

(Typed name)

P.S. (End with a mention about an upcoming event or opportunity for the possible donors)

Personal Fundraising Letter Format

Date

Your Name

Street Address

City, State, ZIP

Dear (Donor’s Name- First only!):

My name is (your name) and I am (describe who you are and your situation). I am looking to raise (total amount of money you are looking to raise) to help me pay for (insert your project/expense/cause that the funds will be used for).

(Include information in this paragraph about why this cause is important to you and how it could potentially impact the reader or the people that your project will be serving. Keep it short to make sure that your donor will read it.)

I’m writing to ask you to support me and my (project). Just a small donation of (small amount. Usually around $5-$10) can help me accomplish my goal of (project).

Your donation will go towar (describe exactly what it is being used for.).

(When possible, add a personal connection to tie the donor to the cause. If you’re raising money to help build a school in a developing country and your writing to a teacher, emphasize that they understand the impact that an education can have).

Thank you in advance for your contribution. You have no idea how much your support will mean to me and the people that this project will go to help.

Here are a couple of ways you can make a donation:

  • Donate online at (insert your web URL)
  • Send us a check in the included pre-stamped envelope
  • Come to my fundraising event at (insert location) on (insert date and time)

Thank you again!

Sincerely,

(Your Signature)

(Your typed name)