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Fundraising Letters

based on a seminar presented by Perry Willis
at Success '97 (notes taken by Stacy Van Oast)

General Tips:
  1. Keep in mind whenever you are asking for money that you are providing a service.
  2. Tell people what you've done an what you plan to do to achieve progress and success.
  3. Longer letters do better:
    • you can address all concerns and potential concerns
    • different kinds of readers and long letters are OK for all:
      • those that throw unopened envelope away - length of letter irrelevant
      • those that read only beginning and ending - length of letter irrelevant
      • skimmers can pick up more points from a longer letter
      • passionate readers love long letters
  4. Make the letter compelling
  5. Paragraphs and bullets should be no more than 3 sentences or items; break longer ones in half
How to write a fundraising letter:
  1. Good news - always start the letter with a series of good news bullets to build momentum and make entire letter entertaining and informative
    • use foreshadowing to tease reader and keep him reading
    • create a "widow" at the end of the first page (a thought that's finished on second page) to make reader turn the page
  2. Describe what you want to do next
    • tell what you're going to do,
    • why you're going to do it,
    • how you're going to do it, and
    • what results you expect
  3. List contribution amounts
  4. Remind readers that their contribution is your budget and that your successes have been possible because of their past contributions - Thank them!
  5. Use P.S.'s for skimmers
    • may titillate skimmers and get them to read the entire letter
    • to create urgency
*Expect results of $1.50 to $2.00 per letter mailed.

*Fundraising letters are easier to produce than newsletters and you can share news and the same information. If you can't do both a newsletter and a fundraising letter, it's better to just do the fundraising letter.

*Fundraising letters create a continuity of membership; the more letters you send, the amount per person should go up

*3-5% of people every month will respond

*Regular fundraising letters will get people in the habit of giving

*Ask for monthly pledge (100% of credit card pledges are fulfilled; 70% of others are fulfilled)

*Under promise and over-deliver

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