When writing to ask for money, any appeal letter should tell the donor what THEIR donation will do! Donors want to feel appreciated and that they are the one making the difference. Bragging about what you (the organisation) will achieve will not encourage a high return rate in gifts. Letting the donor know the impact of their generosity will have on your fantastic cause, will encourage gifts.
Top tips for writing an ask letter
- Use the word ‘you’ more than you use the words ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’.
A donor is not interested in all the things you are going to do, they want to know exactly how their gift will make a difference.
- Ask for a specific amount and explain why you need that amount
By asking for £25 from your donor, which will cover the costs for 2 children to attend an event you are running, you are asking for a clear and achievable amount for a specific reason. Having a vague target or just asking for support is a horrible position for a donor to be in; they want to know that the amount they give will have an impact and by giving them a guide you put their mind at ease and ultimately increase the chances of them making a gift. (Don’t worry about limiting larger gifts; often people give way over the ask amount, but it is good to provide a reference point!)
- Top and Tail the letters by hand!
This is a controversial tip, however in my own work I have seen a much higher return rate on appeals where I spent the majority of 4-5 days hand writing the addressee and sign off. It is the personal touch that matters to a donor and receiving a ‘dear friend’ letter that ends in a pixelated 10-year old signature does not inspire many gifts. Take the time to top and tail by hand and you will see a higher return rate.
- Thank donors properly
This is not really about the ask BUT once you receive a gift, make sure you thank the donor with a sincere and individual letter that tells them how the appeal is going and what their money will achieve. Thank them again when the project is over! By thanking donors properly and reporting back to them you increase the likelihood of them giving again.
Have you got any tips for writing appeal letters? Have you had any success by following these guides? Let me know in the comments below!