An effective fundraising letter is an important part of your group’s fundraising strategy. Supporting your group’s cause is about great communication. Great communication begins with telling your story. Are you at a loss for words? Finding it difficult to get started with your fundraising letters? Before you get started make sure that you understand the 3 W’s. First you need to know who you are writing to, why you are writing to them and what you want them to do.
3 Questions to answer before you draft your Fundraising Letters
Who are you writing to?
Most of your supporters have something in common. What is that? Do they all have students at your school, dancers on your team, or are they alumni of your organization? Knowing and understanding your target audience is the first and most important element of your fundraising letter. Get a better understanding of your supporters by putting yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself:
- What are they passionate about?
- How do they feel about your organization? Are they regular supporters? Volunteers? Strangers?
- What type of ask has the highest response rate with this audience in your past fundraising letters?
Why are you writing?
This might seem like a dumb question but you’d be surprised how many groups don’t have this one nailed down. You know you are writing because you need money. That’s obvious. However your supporters are not supporting you just because you need money. They support you because your organization meets a need within the community. Your cause is the basis for your appeal for support. Make this the focus of your fundraising letters. Ask yourself:
- What is the goal of my fundraising letters? Gain new supporters? Enlist the help of new volunteers? Raise money for a particular project?
- How will you use the money that is raised? Purchase new chrome books for the classrooms? Buy new playgroup equipment? Be specific here. Your supporters want and deserve to know.
- What will generate a response from your supporters? Review the results and success of past fundraising letters.
What do you want them to do?
Your answers to the first two questions will answer this question. Make sure you know what action you want your audience to take before you start drafting your fundraising letters.
- How much to you want them to purchase or give? What are the different ways they can support your group? Online or through the fundraising catalog?
- What is the minimum you need to receive in order to reach your goals?
- What other actions do you want them to take? Share your link via social media? Share your email? Tell their friends?
While some of these questions will be easier to answer than others, the success of your fundraising letters depends on your understanding the 3W’s. Once you do, you will find that your writer’s block is gone. Successful fundraising narratives are vital to your organization. We’ll share more in part 2 of this post.