Every ministry organization requires funding to accomplish their mission. Typically, most of the funds are raised through direct mail appeal letters. In doing nonprofit consulting, people often ask me what makes a successful fundraising letter? Here are three tips to help you communicate more effectively with your donors.
- Tell the story of one. It is always more effective to write about a person than to write about a project. It is better to tell the story of someone whose life was touched than something that your organization is doing. Find a testimony of an individual who has been impacted by your ministry and tell the story.
- Give a specific call to action. Don’t be too preoccupied with the length of the letter. Statistically, long letters out-pull short letters. However, sometimes you can tell the story with a brief two-page letter. It should be as short as possible to adequately tell the story and make a clear and specific appeal.
- Write the letter as if it were a personal letter to a good friend. Many ministries tend to write like institutions. Their letters are impersonal and distant. They tend to talk about themselves. Instead, write the letter as if you were writing to your best friend and how much they mean to you. Often, when I write appeal letters as a fundraising consultant, I write to a personal friend as a representative of the audience I am trying to reach.
Tell the story of one, be specific about your request, and write as if you are writing to someone you know. Carefully crafted appeal letters can both build relationships and generate funds for your organization.