This is a guest post by Freddie Tubbs. Please see his bio at the bottom of this blog.
It doesn’t matter how savvy a writer you are, asking for people for money can seem like one of the most complicated things you can do. Unlike a service, company or business, if you’re fundraising, the chances are you’re asking as a charity or trying to raise money for a specific cause.
To be successful, this takes a rather special approach that isn’t like traditional marketing. With that in mind, today we’re going to explore seven tips you need to know on how to write a compelling fundraising letter that gets results in the best way possible.
#1 - Define Your Sender
Although you might be the writer of your fundraising letter, it’s not necessarily you who sends it. Fundraising letters always work best when they are written from person to person, so try to avoid sending it under the name of your business.
Instead, is it you sending the letter, the CEO of your charity, the head of a project, or the director of your organization? With this in mind, you can then figure out what style and format you’re going to write in.
#2 - Be a Storyteller
When people are reading through your letter, research shows that many people are put off by statistics, large numbers and complex terminology. Although you may be conveying a serious message, this is simply how people respond to it.
“The best way to approach a fundraising campaign is to take your readers through a story. This is where they can learn about someone or something and see what problems they face, and ultimately how the funds raised can address these problems”, - explains Carmen Hock, a Communication manager at Bigassignments.
#3 - Be Concise
While some people will have the time to sit down and read through the entirety of your letter, others will take one quick look and be done with it. This is why it’s so important to keep your letter short, precise and scannable.
Write out captivating headlines and single-sentence info-points that scanners can quickly identify and read without having to spend time reading the entire thing. One sentence might be all it takes to invoke a donation.
#4 - Don’t Beat Around the Bush
One of the most common issues with fundraising letters is the fact that they skip around the fact that they’re asking for money, perhaps not wanting to seem rude or pushy. However, like all forms of marketing, a call to action is vital for success.
People need to be told what to do in order to make them do it. Ask for a certain amount of money and tell them how to donate it. This way, there’s no room for error, and all your readers will know exactly what they need to do.
#5 - Write Accurately
Imagine you’ve received a fundraising letter yourself, and you’ve given it the time of day to read through it. However, you notice it’s full of mistakes, typos, and errors. Are you going to donate to an organization that can’t even be bothered to check their own content?
Probably not. If you need to improve your skills, here are several tools that can help
- StateofWriting - Use the general writing guides on this website to improve your overall writing skills.
- Via Writing / UK Writings - These are two online editing tools to help you format and structure your content to perfection.
- My Writing Way - Use this online proofreading tool to highlight and correct any errors in your content.
- Boom Essays - This is an online service to help you check and correct the grammar usage in your letter.
- Academ advisor / Essay Roo - Use these two services to generate keywords and catchy phrases and headers to use in your letter.
- Academized - This is a leading formatting tool to help you design and layout your letter in the most effective way possible.
#6 - Talk About Your Goal
While it’s important to talk about the problem you’re trying to address in the world, it’s just as important in your letter to take the time to describe what you’re going to do with the money you raise and what your plan is to address the issues.
Without knowing what you’re planning to do, many people will feel dubious about handing over their money. They want details, so they know they can trust you.
#7 - Don’t Forget the Reply
There’s no point in sending a letter to anybody unless you’re going to give them an easy way to reply. Imagine you’ve poured your heart and soul into your letter, the reader is ready to donate, but then they have no idea how.
“Be sure to list out your phone number, email address, social media links, and websites so the reader can quickly get online and make a donation. You can always use a slip of paper where they can give their info, but make sure you’re only asking for the basic information you need”, - says Richard Martinelli, a PR manager at Eliteassignmenthelp and Revieweal.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to think about when it comes to writing an effective fundraising letter. Be organized and methodical with the way you write out your content, and really aim to connect with your reader on an emotional level for the best results.
Freddie Tubbs is a communication manager at Paperfellows. He regularly takes part in online marketing conferences and works as a part-time contributor at Oxessays and Australian help blogs.