Donation letters are an important source of fundraising for nonprofits, even in the digital age. Whether you’re planning to send physical letters or emails (or both!), donation request letter templates for nonprofits can help you find your voice – and bring in funds for your organization. Read on for the best tips and templates to help you fundraise effectively.
Tips for How to Write a Donation Request Letter
There’s no single formula for writing a donation letter – they should always come from the heart. However, we do have a few tips to help you as you work your way through the donation request letter templates below.
- Start strong. Open your letter with an engaging story about your organization, its mission and how it makes a difference in the world.
- Make it personal. You want the reader to feel compelled to make a donation. Sharing a personal story or a donor story can make a strong connection. Include a picture or two if you can.
- Provide details. If you have statistics about the impact your organization has had, include them. If your fundraiser involves an event, go beyond the date and time to provide information about who will be there and what you’ll be doing.
- Ask for a specific amount. The best charitable donation request letter templates include details about the difference each dollar amount can make. For example, “Just a $25 donation can provide a holiday meal for a family of four.”
- Build trust. Mention your organization’s history and achievements, like awards or partnerships, to build credibility. Donors also want to know their donation is going directly to the cause, so break down where you’ll be using the funds.
- Provide convenient options. It’s best to have multiple ways to donate. If you ask for donations by mail, include a self-addressed envelope. You should also have a fundraising page so people can make donations online. Many nonprofits also accept donations through Venmo or PayPal.
- Give thanks. Showing appreciation for your donors and potential donors is the most important part of any donation request letter template. Even if they haven’t donated previously, you can thank them for their time and consideration.
- Proofread. A well-written, error-free letter makes your organization look professional. Before you hit “send” or put your letters in the mail, have a colleague or another volunteer look it over.
Top 4 Donation Request Letter Templates
Donation letters often include some of the same information, but they vary depending on the request that’s being made. Here are 4 free donation request letter templates for various situations that any organization can use.
1. General Donation Request Letter
This is the most common example of a donation request letter. You’d typically send it to individual donors who aren’t familiar with your organization.
Dear [Name of Donor],
Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself and your organization. Highlight your mission and add some statistics about what you’ve accomplished for your cause. Describe what you’re raising funds for and the difference you hope to make in your community.
Paragraph 2: Appeal to the donor’s emotions with a compelling story that relates to the donations you’re requesting. It can be an example of a past project or a story of a person you’ve helped.
Paragraph 3: Make your donation request. Give specific amounts with examples of how that amount will make a difference. Don’t forget to mention that any amount is appreciated.
Paragraph 4: Tell them how to donate. Direct them to the donation website or provide a mailing address for a donation. Better yet, include a self-addressed envelope for checks.
Paragraph 5: Thank them for considering your request. Restate that any amount is appreciated and let them know they will make a difference by donating.
2. Online Fundraiser
Online fundraisers are a little different than general fundraising through the mail or your website. Giving them a start and end date can create urgency, and fundraising for something specific can get donors interested. Here’s a sample request for donation letter for an online fundraiser.
Dear [Name of Donor],
Paragraph 1: If they’ve previously donated, thank the donor for being a part of your community. Include a specific amount they donated in the past, if possible.
Paragraph 2: Introduce (or re-introduce) your organization with a brief summary of your mission. Give an example of a past fundraising campaign and the impact it had. Let them know you couldn’t have done it without them.
Paragraph 3: Announce your current online fundraiser. Provide a specific purpose for the campaign as well as a specific goal you’re trying to reach. Give a date when the campaign will end, and let them know you need their help.
Paragraph 4: Ask for a donation in a specific amount to help kick off the campaign. Provide the URL of the fundraising website. If it’s an email, add a “Donate Today” button.
Paragraph 5: Be sure they know that any amount is helpful. Offer an incentive for donating, like a social media shout out or a raffle ticket if you have an upcoming event.
Paragraph 6: Thank them for their support, and direct them to the fundraising website or your organization’s website for updates on the campaign.
3. P2P Campaign
Peer-to-peer (P2P) campaigns are essential for many nonprofit organizations. They allow individuals to raise money on your behalf by setting up their own online donation page. You can send this 501(c)(3) donation request letter template to your volunteer fundraisers to use.
Paragraph 1: Introduce the organization you’re raising money for. Include a description of their mission and history, for example, how long they’ve been operating.
Paragraph 2: If there’s a specific purpose or campaign you’re raising money for, include that here. If you have a personal story about how the organization has impacted you, include that here as well. Let the donor know how important this is to you and how excited you are.
Paragraph 3: Tell them the total amount you’re trying to raise. Ask if they’d consider making a donation in a certain amount, and give an example of how that amount can make a difference. Provide a link to your P2P donation page.
Paragraph 4: Include any specific information about the campaign here, for example the total fundraising goal, a date the campaign ends or any events involved, like a 5K or other fundraiser.
Paragraph 5: Let them know that any amount is helpful, and if they can’t donate, they can share your page online to help spread the word.
4. Sponsorship Request Letter
A sponsorship letter is a request for a business to sponsor an event you’re holding. For example, they might sponsor a table at a dinner, and receive a placard on the table showing their name and business information. This is a popular donation request letter for schools and teams, as community businesses are likely to get behind these types of organizations.
Dear [Name of Business Contact],
Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself, your organization and your mission. Give an example of how you’ve made a positive impact in your community. Describe what you’re raising funds for and the difference it will make.
Paragraph 2: Provide some benefits the sponsor will receive if they support you. For example, they might get networking opportunities, media coverage or exposure to a certain audience.
Paragraph 3: Describe the details of the sponsorship. Provide a few different sponsorship levels, the donation amount, what they will get, and how that amount will help the community.
Paragraph 4: Write your call to action. Let them know how to sign up for the sponsorship, whether by filling out a form and sending a check in the mail, or signing up through your website. Also provide a phone number they can call to get more information.
Paragraph 5: Thank them for their time and consideration. If you can, recognize the business by including some details about how they make a positive difference in the community, and thank them for their hard work. Let them know you’re all in this together and their sponsorship will make a difference.
We’ve provided you with our top donation request letter templates that actually work – now it’s up to you to put them into action. Whether you’re writing a donation request letter for a church, school or another nonprofit organization, remember to make that emotional connection and also make it easy for people to donate.
That’s where fundraising sites like Donately come in. Our customizable forms and pages, plus P2P fundraising and features like text-to-donate and recurring donations, can help you reach every donor. And with a variety of pricing plans, including a free option, you can find one that suits your budget. Sign up for free today and start raising money.