How to Write a Letter to Accompany a Contribution

by Patricia Hunt

A letter accompanying a contribution provides the donor an opportunity to explain the motivation for the gift-giving, how the donor wants the gift used and perhaps the donor's personal story or organizational history that led to the gift. It provides important information to the recipient.

Type or print the return address, city, state and ZIP code along with the date about one inch from the top margin. Center it. Single-space the lines and skip four lines down for the addressee.

Type or print the recipient's name (whether an individual or name of an organization) at the left margin. Type the recipient's address, city, state and ZIP code on three separate lines.

Skip two lines and type or print "Dear Mr. or Ms. ______:" at the left margin. If contributing to an organization, address the letter to the president or chair. You can find this information on most websites. For a donor letter, it is acceptable to start: "Dear Red Cross:"

Skip two lines and type or print a sentence stating the name of the donor and the contribution amount or the object donated. The next sentence can specify how you want the contribution used or applied to a special program. If the donation comes with no strings attached, meaning you don't care how the donation gets used, say so. Also, describe if you expect public acknowledgment of your gift or you prefer anonymity.

Skip two lines and provide an optional closing paragraph that perhaps explains your rationale for giving. A brief personal anecdote suffices to explain your motivation or perhaps express admiration for the recipient's work.

Skip two lines and center the closing salutation such as "Sincerely" or "Yours Truly". Skip four lines and type your name under the salutation. After printing the letter, sign it.

Items you will need

  • Check or money order
  • Paper and pen
  • Envelope and stamp
  • Computer with word processing program
  • Printer

Tip

  • Save a copy of the letter for tax files.

About the Author

Patricia Hunt first found her voice as a fiction and nonfiction writer in 1974. An English teacher for over 27 years, Hunt's works have appeared in "The Alaska Quarterly Review," "The New Southern Literary Messenger" and "San Jose Studies." She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from American University and a doctorate in studies of America from the University of Maryland.

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