How to Submit a Request for Charitable Donations

by Vicki Wright
An effective, professional donation-request letter is a necessary tool for fund-raising.

An effective, professional donation-request letter is a necessary tool for fund-raising.

Unless you're a seasoned development professional, the concept of asking for money on behalf of a charitable organization is a major "turn-off" for many people. Asking someone for a donation makes most people uncomfortable. However, if you keep certain steps in mind, it's not as difficult or awkward to submit a request for charitable donations as it might seem.

Know your potential source. There are many possible types of sources you may choose to ask for a charitable donation. Many foundations or trusts give philanthropic contributions. You'll need to know if there are certain guidelines these groups adhere to in order to grant their funds. Another source of funding may be an alumni group, a club, organization or the general public. You'll need to evaluate your potential source to determine how best to contact them and what to include in your request.

Have a dollar amount in mind. Your contributor doesn't know how much you need. By naming a realistic monetary amount, you are giving them a target. If they can't meet your requested amount, they may be inclined to fund part of your request. However, if you do not give the donor a requested monetary goal, he may underfund your need unintentionally. The old adage, "You don't know until you ask," applies here.

Define your goals and provide information about your organization. If your potential contributor is familiar with your organization, providing them with information may seem superfluous. However, it simply proves you're prepared and organized. Secondly, the potential donor doesn't know what you plan to use her contribution for unless you tell her. Give specific examples about how the contribution will help and progress your organization.

Explain your organization's dependency on donations. If a significant percentage of your budget comes from charitable contributions, let them know how important they are to your funding. Elaborate as to how integral contributions were made in the past.

Say, "Thank you." No donor likes to be asked for a charitable contribution without being properly thanked. Many organizations have specific ways they recognize their donors. Let them know how you plan to recognize their generosity. This may be with recognition in a newsletter, their name on a donor board or recognition at a public event.

Tip

  • Check, double check and re-check your request. Make sure there are no misspellings, grammatical mistakes or inaccuracies. A misspelling of a name can mean the loss of a contribution.

Warning

  • Never exaggerate your organization's need or goals.

About the Author

Vicki Wright, writing and editing professionally since 1996, has extensive business management, marketing and media experience. Wright has a Bachelor of Science in socio-poltical communication from Missouri State University and became certified as a leadership facilitator from the Kansas Leadership Center in 2010.

Photo Credits

  • glasses on the paper image by Elena Vdovina from Fotolia.com