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How to Write a Fundraising Letter





How to Write a Fundraising Letter   by Linda Elizabeth Alexander


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How to Write a Fundraising Letter

(c) 2002 By Linda Elizabeth Alexander

The key to a successful fundraising campaign is
writing a good letter. This may sound intimidating at
first, but fundraising letters contain many of the
same elements as any good sales letter.

First, know your donors: Beginning with an updated
list of past donors is key -- they will likely give
again and may even increase their donations over
time. Make sure to have a good, well-targeted,
updated mailing list for new prospects as well.

In order to get people to read your letter, they must
first open the envelope. Include teaser copy on the
outside of the envelope. This can be as simple as a
printed line saying, "We need your help."

Early in the letter, make your case -- quickly. Don't
beat around the bush. Tell about your organization or
project at the top of the letter and get to the point
right away. What problem will this project solve?
What need will it fill?

Appeal to your donors' hearts first with descriptions
and anecdotes, then their heads with facts and
figures.

If you are writing to previous donors, be sure to
thank them first before you ask for more money.
"Thanks for being such an important influence on our
program in the past. Last year's fundraiser was such
a success, we're inviting you to help again ..."

Also, lose the hype. Don't exaggerate or over-extend
yourself. Nothing will destroy your credibility
faster than sounding like a used-car salesperson when
raising funds for a good cause.

As with other sales letters, longer copy pulls better
in fundraising letters. I know, I know, "Nobody reads
long letters." While most people won't read every
word, the more you can tell the reader about the
benefits of giving, the better response you will
receive.

Another reason for long copy is with a good
fundraising letter, you should be able to start
reading at any point in the letter and still know
what it is about.

It's much harder with a one or two page letter to
state your case in a number of different ways than it
is with a four page letter. With a longer letter, you
have much more room to convince the reader to give.

Don't forget to ask for the money! Don't just tell
them about your program, ask directly for their help.
Also, tell them how much to give so they have an idea
of what is needed. "Our education program needs 25
computers, at $2,000 each. If you can't afford a
whole computer, a donation of only $200 will buy a
printer."

You will get donations of at least $200.

Appeal to readers' sense of urgency by providing a
deadline. "We need these funds by January 1 in order
to carry out our spring awards event." If you don't
get them to act right away, they probably won't act
at all.

For the maximum reply, include a return envelope.
Make it easy for people to donate by telling them
how! "Just check the box on the reply card and mail
it with your check in the enclosed, postage paid
reply envelope." It may sound silly to you, but
people respond to clear instructions.

Remember to include a PS at the bottom. The bulk of
your letter will go unread by most of your readers. A
post script is a last-chance effort to summarize your
whole letter and get your readers to act on it.

As with any direct mail piece, it's good to make
follow up phone calls one or two weeks after you mail
the letter. Ask if the letter was received and if you
can answer any questions. Of course, you won't always
reach the right person, but if you follow up you
greatly increase your chances of getting a donation.

Writing successful fundraising letters isn't rocket
science. These tips are based on years of trial and
error; if you follow them wisely your campaign will
be successful. Plan early, be organized, and the
letter writing will take care of itself!

=====================================================
Linda Elizabeth Alexander writes marketing copy for
nonprofits. When a deadline looms and you're overworked
and understaffed, contact her to come to your rescue.
http://www.write2thepointcom.com
mailto:lalexander@write2thepointcom.com
=====================================================



About Author Linda Elizabeth Alexander :


Linda Elizabeth Alexander writes marketing copy for nonprofits. When a deadline looms and you're overworked and understaffed, contact her to come to your rescue.http://www.write2thepointcom.commailto:lalexander@write2thepointcom.com=====================================================


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LD
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