Writing donation letters that produce the desired result is an art form that must include four major elements. Your donation request letter must clearly communicate who you are, what you are raising money for, why they should donate to your cause, and how you use those donations.
In addition, you should structure your donation letter in a certain order to avoid losing your donor’s attention. You need to clearly state your “ask” at the start of the second paragraph.
You do this because most people are skimmers and they quickly scan your letter rather than reading every word. So, you want the donation ask portion of your fundraising letter to be clearly visible at first glance.
The best way to do that is to use bold text or italics to make your donation request stand out. Here’s how you should layout your letter:
- Identify who you are – This should be in the first sentence. Identify both yourself and your group in the very first line.
- Identify what you are raising money for – This should also be in the first sentence. Don’t waste people’s time trying to dig out what your cause is all about.
- Identify why they should donate to your cause – This should come right after the “ask”. Always use the word “because” since it provides a psychological or emotional justification for making a donation.
- Identify how you use those donations – This part of the letter should demonstrate how you have used past donations and how you will will put their donation to good use.
- Identify how to make a donation – Your donation letter needs to clearly spell out the best ways to donate to your cause. Offer several easy ways to donate and include suggested amounts.
- Thank them for their consideration – With donors, you can never thank them enough and yet, many groups fail to thank them at all in their donation request letter.
Sample Donation Letter
Group nameYour address
Dear prospective donor (personalize),
I’m Jane Doe with the Non-profit Organization Name (your group) that is raising funds to provide a solution (your non-profit’s approach) to an important problem (your cause).
Can you help us with a donation (this is the actual “ask” for their help) “because” (this is using the psychological trigger word) we will put your donation to good use (this is the “why the should donate” where you demonstrate how you have used past donations).
What we are doing now is (explain here how you will use their donation in detail. Use visually descriptive language about what their contribution will help achieve).
Here’s how you can help address this urgent need. (Explain the various ways they can donate to your cause – using an enclosed form, donating online, by phone, by credit card, etc.)
Thank them for their consideration. You can also help out (describe ways they can volunteer or assist in other ways).
P.S. – Always include a postscript. Thank them again for past support (if applicable) and for being a good person (don’t be gushy, but people always enjoy being praised. It’s important even if they haven’t donated anything because it will make them more receptive the next time you ask for their help).
P.P.S. – Use a second postscript to state a positive change goal. (We are going to fix this problem and alleviate this pain!)