How to write a successful fundraising letter

Have you ever wondered how many people actually read your fundraising letter? I know I don’t read every one that comes in the mail. So how can you get people to actually read the letter?

Make your letter visually appealing.  

Half of the battle is getting potential donors to open the letter. Once they’ve opened it, make sure that your letter is moving them to action.
Here are some specific things you can do: 

  • Make your first line and paragraph count. Your reader will decide if they want to keep reading, so use an opener that draws them in such as a rhetorical question or an amazing fact.
  • Use wise margins. A letter that has too many words on the page is fatiguing to read, so keep a lot of white space on the page.
  • Keep your paragraphs short. Unlike writing a business letter, 2-4 sentences in each paragraph are enough.
  • Be sure to use bolditalics, and underline throughout your letter. Draw the eye to the main points you want to make.
  • Ask, ask, ask. Ask for specific amounts like $25, $50 or $100 at least once per page.
  • Include a P.S. It’s the most likely part of the letter people read, so phrase your P.S. call to action emphatically: Please send your most generous donation of $25, $50 or $100 today! or a similar variation.

If your reader can understand the main points of your letter and its call(s) to action in about a minute, you know you’ve written it well.  So strive to keep the letter easy to read.