Writing an effective fundraiser letter uses many of the same techniques as writing a sales letter. This example of a fundraiser letter breaks the letter down into segments that are needed to “say what you want to say” in a way that will encourage contributions from the readers.
Start the fundraiser letter with a sentence that is good news, or a series of bullets containing good news, relevant to the fundraiser's cause. “I have been training for a long bike ride and have successfully worked my way up to 10 miles per day. I have worked toward, and reached, this goal to prepare to join 250 other bikers, July 19 to 24, for The Ride Across Minnesota, or the TRAM. Catchy name for a great fundraiser to help those stricken with multiple sclerosis (MS).” Make the first paragraph light and somewhat entertaining to keep the reader’s attention. Be sure to include the name of the fundraiser and the date.
Tell what you are going to do, why you are doing it, how you are going to accomplish it and the results you expect to attain. “Minnesota has the highest population of individuals with MS in the nation. My wife is one of them. This disease is draining her of her energy so I am going to take my energy and use it to go on this 150-mile, five-day bike ride. This means 20 more miles per day yet with the encouragement and common goal of the other riders I am determined to succeed at finishing.” Make this paragraph personal and heartfelt. If there is more to say create a sentence that finishes on the next page, to make the reader turn the page.
Be upfront about what total financial contribution you are asking for and how the individual reader can help reach that goal. “Each rider involved in the TRAM fundraising event must raise a minimum of $1,500 dollars to participate. My goal is to double that amount. Your contribution of $15, $25, $50, and $100 or more will help me reach my personal fundraising goal. The money raised will go directly to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter, where 95 percent of dollars raised goes to research, financial assistance for families dealing with this disease, and programs to help everyone living with multiple sclerosis, just like my wife.” Assure the reader where their financial contribution will go and how it will be used. Remind them how their contribution assists to relieve the situation you talked about in the first paragraph.
Remind the reader what will be accomplished by working together. “The success of the TRAM fundraiser event depends on the 250 riders raising money and finishing the ride. I have been training diligently for six months to participate in this event, and know that I will finish The Ride Across Minnesota. Your contribution will assist me in fundraising to participate in the TRAM and raise extra money to help the MS Society do research to find the cause and cure of MS. My thanks, in advance of your contribution, for assisting me in this cause.” Remember to thank the reader.
Post Script (P.S.)
Sign the letter and then use the P.S. feature of letter writing. This is a hot spot for those who skim through the letter to find out information quickly. According to DirectCreative.com, “A postscript should be relatively short—ideally three to five lines—and should present an important message, a prime benefit, a restatement of the offer, a reminder of the deadline, a sweetener or whatever you feel is most effective in this prime spot.” “P.S. There are 125,000 individuals living in Minnesota with multiple sclerosis. You may know someone and many times feel like you do not know how you can help them. Your financial contribution for this fundraising event will help my wife, your friend or relative and everyone in Minnesota living with this disease. Please send your check, made out to the "MS Society", today.” Write the P.S. to tease skimmers to where they want to read the entire letter. Use the end of the fundraising letter to create a sense of urgency.
- dollars in envelope image by KtD from Fotolia.com