Over the years of helping nonprofits and ministries raise money, I have learned some essential characteristics of successful fundraising letters to inspire donors to generously respond.
Here are nine tips to incorporate in your next fundraising letter to improve response:
- Use Compelling Opening Lines in the Letter
In this day and age, people are accustomed to short social media posts and text messages, so you literally have seconds to capture a person’s interest to continue reading your letter. The first few sentences need to grab the reader’s attention by speaking to their values and presenting a compelling reason to respond.
- Be Donor Focused
Express sincere appreciation to your donors and let them know they are valuable partners in your efforts. A great way to convey this is to begin with, “Because of you….”
- Talk Benefits, Not Needs
Tell donors they will save lives, rescue a person off the streets, provide food, restore dignity to a girl rescued from prostitution. People want to feel they are doing good, so focus on the life-changing benefits that will be a result of their giving.
- Make Your Letter Easy to Read
- Avoid long paragraphs
- Use simple words
- Leave plenty of white space around your copy so the letter doesn’t feel heavy and laborious to read.
- Use a P.S.
I have heard it said that many readers read the P.S. before the content of the letter. It can influence whether the reader will read the rest of the letter, so use the P.S. wisely. I suggest giving the main reason for giving and the ask in the P.S. It has to be concise – only a couple of sentences.
- Tell a Story, not Stats
Your donors are being asked by other organizations to support their causes, so you need to tell a compelling story that will resonate with them and inspire them to respond.
You need to share with your donors how their giving makes a difference in the lives of people you serve. One of the strongest motivators to give is sharing a real-life testimony of a changed life as result of your organization’s work.
Donors don’t want to receive a “Dear Friend” letter. They want to know that you care about them and know who they are. The quickest way to start personalizing is to include their name in the letter. Use the first name so that you are using a conversational tone. Incorporating any information into the letter that the donor has shared with you like prayer requests will be a tremendous personal touch and can significantly impact the response rate.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
It is important not to be shy or vague in your fundraising letter, so ask what you want the donor to do. For instance, in your letter you can say, “Your gift of $30 will provide a child a warm, nutritious meal every day for an entire month.”
On the response card, you could give the donor the opportunity to help multiple children by showing a table:
$60 feeds 2 children for a month
$90 feeds 3 children for a month
$120 feeds 4 children for a month
- Mention All the Other Ways to Give
Besides having a well-designed response device in the letter for the donor to send back, you may want to consider adding other response channels like telephone or a unique URL for web responses in the direct mail piece. For one of our clients, we were able to attribute an additional $300,000 annually by simply adding a dedicated 800 # number to the direct mail letter.
If you would like Infinity Concepts to help you with fundraising efforts, Contact Us Today!
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