How To Ask for Money

Professional fundraisers earn high salaries to create fundraising letters, but many of their techniques can be implemented by people with average English skills:

Send a letter! It is easier to delete an email than throw away a letter, A letter is more likely to be opened if it has a real stamp and is personally addressed. No “occupant” please. Ideally, the address should be neatly handwritten.

Write a letter that is easy and inviting to read:

  • Your salutation should be Dear NAME, not Dear Freind

  • Use 12 point type so readers do not get annoyed fumbling for glasses

  • Paragraphs should be no more than five lines long.

  • Double space between paragraphs.

  • Use bold, italics, and underlines to emphasize the important points. Ideally, a reader should be able to understand the gist of the letter by scanning the words and phrases that stand out.

  • Use bullet points

  • Try to make the letter no longer than one page.

  • Remember the most important word in the letter is YOU. “You can make the difference.”

  • A P.S. is critical. Many people read the P.S. before the letter.

Don’t forget to ask for money:

  • Be specific. What will a $25 donation accomplish? $50? Give at least three dollar amounts.

  • Humanize your request: tell a brief story about a specific person (name changed) who will benefit and why they need what your organization will provide with the donor’s help.

  • Do not say “Thanking you in advance.”

Make it easy for the reader to make a donation:

  • Include a separate card with all the giving options: check, charge, credit card, PayPal

  • The card should include an affirmative statement: YES I want to change the world with my (check, charge) for $____.

  • Include a postage paid return envelope.

Set-up a “yes” for the next request:

  • Send a prompt thank you note that includes a “warm fuzzy” story about a person or situation that may be helped by the donation

  • Include the amount they donated and remind them that their gift may be tax deductible. Be sure to note if you are a 501(c)(3) organization.