Securing funding is crucial for the success of any organization, regardless of its goals. One highly effective approach is crafting a donation letter to reach potential donors. However, when conducting a Google search, discovering the best techniques for creating an impactful donation letter can be a bit challenging.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is a Donation Letter?
A donation letter serves as a written appeal to potential donors. It’s aimed at raising funds for your organization or cause. These letters often tug at the heartstrings, explaining how achieving your organization’s goals can positively impact the world. They also explain why financial contributions are crucial to reaching those objectives.
While you can send donation letters throughout the year, experts recommend the end of the year as the most effective time. This coincides with pre-tax season finances for many individuals and organizations. Regardless of the timing, a compelling donation letter is brief and to the point. It emphasizes the significance of your mission and clearly states the requested donation amount.
Different Types of Donation Letters
The variety of donation letters you write should align with the type of donor you are reaching out to. The following are the different types of donation letters:
- Church Building Fund Requests: These letters are tailored for churches seeking donations from existing members and supporters. The goal is to remind donors of the church’s benefits and emphasize the importance of securing funding to continue providing services in the future.
- Charity Auction Item Requests: Rather than seeking funds, these letters aim to convince potential donors to contribute items for charity auctions.
- Fundraising Event Donations: This type of donation letter requests contributions to organize a charity event or encourages individuals to attend the event and donate to support its cause.
- Sponsorship Request Letters: These letters aim to secure funding for events and initiatives by offering potential donors something in return, such as VIP access, free advertising, or naming the event after them.
- Mission Trip Funding Requests: Similar to sponsorship letters, these requests seek funds specifically for missions and excursions rather than events.
- Missionary Support: This donation letter appeals for support to assist specific missionaries working towards goals that benefit communities and the world at large.
Corporate vs Individual Appeals
Before writing a donation letter, it is essential to consider your target audience in addition to understanding your purpose. Drafting a letter for an individual demands a different approach compared to composing a letter for a corporation or a group of people.
- Individual Appeals: Individual appeals target individual donors, requesting small one-time or recurring monetary contributions. These appeals emphasize the cause’s significance and how even modest donations can create a substantial impact, appealing to the donors’ sentimentality.
- Corporate Appeals: Corporate appeals are directed at businesses of all sizes. Unlike individual donation appeals, these letters typically seek sponsorship, in-kind donations (such as meals, raffle prizes, employee volunteers, or venue usage for charity events), or employee gift-matching programs. These appeals focus on the benefits the donor company can gain. For instance, by providing T-shirts for event volunteers, a company can receive extensive promotion with its name and logo featured on every shirt.
How to Write an Effective Donation Letter
Crafting a donation letter can be challenging without proper guidance. Since these letters are crucial in securing funding, finding the right words can make or break the proposal. To ensure an effective donation letter, make sure to include the following elements:
What Goes Up Top?
- Header: Your header should feature the name of your non-profit and, if applicable, include your logo for branding.
- Non-Profit Contact Info: Ensure to provide your organization’s physical address, email address, phone number, and any relevant social media pages for easy contact.
- Date: Decide on the mailing or emailing date for your donation letter(s) to plan your outreach effectively.
- Donor Salutation: The initial greeting sets the tone for your entire donation letter. Choose either formal or personable, aligning with your organization’s tone or tailoring it to match the donor’s brand/style.
The Body of Your Donation Letter
- Acknowledgment of Relationship to Donor/Organization: Personalize the letter by reminding the donor of your relationship or how their past contributions have supported your organization. For individuals, mention previous joint achievements like, “Last year, with your incredible support and that of other generous donors, we achieved…”. When addressing businesses, you might say, “Your company has been a valued partner at our fundraisers, and with your ongoing support, we will continue to reach our organizational goals.”
- The Story of Your Non-Profit: Avoid using salesy language, as it may not resonate well in this context. Instead, use this section to connect emotionally with donors. Share the story of your non-profit, including the need for donations, the proposed solution, and present the donors as the heroes who make it all possible. Show them how vital they are to your cause.
The call to action is a critical component of your donation letter, where you explicitly ask for the gift. An effective approach is incorporating a time-sensitive call-to-action. For individual donors, consider offering a special incentive or benefit for early responders, like granting the first 50 donors V.I.P. access to all events in June.
When dealing with corporate donors, you might entice them by stating, “The first five companies to donate will have their company names featured on all merchandise distributed at the event.” By providing multiple reasons to donate and adding a sense of urgency, you encourage potential donors to act promptly.
Additional Tips for the Perfect Donation Letter
Now that you are familiar with the essentials of a great donation letter, you can effectively implement the following tips and tricks:
- Keep it Short: Despite including the necessary sections, strive to keep your donation letter as concise as possible. In this fast-paced age, assume that most people are busy and won’t read lengthy documents. Being succinct will prevent losing your audience’s attention.
- Don’t Forget the Self-Addressed Envelope: Including a self-addressed envelope adds a special touch when seeking donations. It encourages donors to write a check and mail it back promptly, and it makes doing so easy.
- Include a Legitimate Hand-Written Signature (If Possible): Consider adding a genuinely hand-written signature for a more personal touch if feasible. This is especially important when reaching out to significant donors or past contributors, creating a stronger connection beyond a template letter.
- Don’t Forget the P.S.: Utilize a P.S. to reiterate your call to action effectively. Experts suggest that many people read the P.S. right after the salutation, making it a great opportunity to reinforce your message.
Writing a Donation Letter Is Just the Start!
Crafting a donation letter doesn’t have to be a daunting task. However, it’s crucial to understand that it’s just one part of your focused giving strategy. To achieve success, you need a comprehensive approach. At DonorWerx, we can assist you at every step of this journey.
For expert guidance in creating the ideal campaign for your charity, reach out to DonorWerx today. Whether your organization requires coaching, resources, or anything in between, we’ve got you covered.
Schedule a Discovery Call with one of our experts now to get started.