If you work at a non-profit (especially in donor retention or a similar role) you know that asking people for anything, especially their hard-earned money, is not easy. What makes donation requests really tough is that there are so many charities desperately in need of funding, all of which are trying to solicit donations.
With all of this competition, you need to make sure that you write an exceptional fundraising letter so that you can convince potential donors to give to your worthy charity. So what does an exceptional donation request letter look like? This post will answer that for you!
Things to think about before communicating with donors:
Don’t communicate too often
Constituents tend to ignore communications from non-profits who contact them too often. In fact, according to the Donor Burke survey, over solicitation is a key reason for donor attrition. Make sure you communicate only when your NPO has something important to say, not on a pre-determined schedule!
Send past program results
Before you send a thank you letter, it’s important that you provide your donors with past program results. If you want donors to keep giving, they need to understand the impact your organization is making!
If you’ve already informed your donors and you haven’t over communicated, then you’re ready to write your donation request letter!
Writing the perfect donation request letter:
- Communications that aren’t read immediately probably won’t get read at all. Short communications are more likely than long communications to be read immediately
- Include the donor’s name in the introduction
- Send the letter from an actual person, preferably someone who is closely connected to the program that donors are being asked to fund
- This is different from donation acknowledgements, where the letter should be sent from someone in the highest ranks of the organization
- Impact (Data)
- Use data to provide a factual account of your organization’s impact
- Represent the data visually to make it easier to digest (ex. pie chart)
- Pick only a few high-level data points and provide a data breakdown, too much detail can be overwhelming for donors
- Impact (Anecdote)
- Tell a story about someone who was helped by your organization
- Communicate how you intend to use the donation
- Ask for a donation to a specific program
- Make it easy for donors to find additional information about your non-profit
- Putting donors in control of their own learning increases the likelihood that they will give again and give more generously
If you follow these six easy steps, you’ll be well on your way to writing the perfect donation request letter. One thing I want to point out is that while these are the best practices, there is no one size fits all approach to a fundraising letter. It’s always best to create multiple versions of your letter and split-test them in order to determine what works best for your particular donor base.
Need help creating the perfect donation request letter?
Image 1, wildorange55
Image 2, David Cosand