10 Tips for Writing More Powerful Annual Giving Letters
Happy new year! How is your church doing at the start of 2021? If you feel overwhelmed after everything that happened in 2020, you’re not alone. Many charities, churches, and nonprofits have experienced immense challenges. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send out your usual annual giving letter!
At DonorWerx, it’s our mission to provide you with the tech tools you need to keep growing and progressing with your giving goals for the coming year. If you’re not quite where you want to be yet, take heart.
How Can You Write More Effective Annual Giving Letters?
Studies show that approximately 31% of all annual giving occurs in December and approximately 12% of all annual giving occurs in the last three days of December. Twenty-eight percent of nonprofits raise 26%–50% of their annual funds from their year-end ask. This is why how you pastors craft your annual letter is so crucial.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind when writing that letter:
Engage with Your Audience
This annual newsletter should be something your donors look forward to. It should not feel like spam. Make it engaging, ask questions, share your lessons from the past year, and let them know what to look forward to in the future.
Personalize the Letter
Always begin the letter with a personalized “Dear (Name),” and if possible, tweak the first sentence to address them personally. For example, if you are aware of their health issues, let them know you are thinking and praying for their health. If they have recently had a promotion at work, congratulate them.
Let Your Annual Giving Letter Tell a Story
Include anecdotes, quotes, or real-life stories that will make your donors want to keep reading. Avoid dry, lengthy letters that only drone on about the same thing they have heard multiple times.
Thank Donors Specifically
Your annual letter is the best time to show your gratitude to those who have supported your project missions. Rather than opening by asking for donations, begin by sharing the specific ways their gifts helped the church, and express your thankfulness for their support.
Show Interest in Donors
Nobody is going to support your work unless they feel you care about them. No matter how big or small your church, make it a point to get to know each of your donors.
Give Stats and Data
An annual newsletter should also showcase your missions by proving statistics and data. Don’t be afraid to publish numbers — not financial ones, but for example, how many children your donors’ support helped, how many schools benefitted, and/or how many youth volunteers joined an outreach project. Get specific.
Link to Your Online Donation Options
Don’t miss out on reiterating how your donors can help. Publish links that go directly to your website landing pages. Your call to action should always end with your contact details. If you are starting out with digital giving options, let them know which platforms and apps are available for quick and easy donations.
Create a Sense of Urgency
When raising funding for your coming year, let donors know about your most immediate needs. Be direct with the words you choose to use in your annual giving letter. For example, “Donate now” is more effective than simply saying, “We appreciate your support.”
Avoid jargon and buzzwords when writing your annual letters. How you say something — i.e., the language you use — matters just as much as visual appeal. Don’t beat around the bush when asking for help. Let your donors know why you need to raise X amount and exactly how X amount will help your church missions.
Keep It Simple
Lastly, there is power in simplicity. Avoid lengthy annual letters that no one has the time to read. Focus on the presentation of your work, add in relevant links to your church website, state your needs, and let photographs do much of the talking for you.
Remember Proverbs 25:11 — A Word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. And Ecclesiastes 12: 10 — The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
Want more tips for reaching your digital giving goals this year? Visit our resource pages and find out more about how DonorWerx can help you serve your donors better.