The parts of an effective fundraising appeal letter

Pad of Paper & PenSince this is the time of year when professional fundraisers are preparing their fall and their end-of-year appeals, we thought we should go back to the basics and look at the parts of a good fundraising appeal letter.

Some people will read your letter straight through, but many others will skim and skip around the page. Construct your fundraising appeal letter with the components that your readers will notice:

  • Opening paragraph, closing paragraph and postscript. Many fundraisers forget to include a PS! Create strong, emotional paragraphs for these three key areas, and construct them so that they work together to form one cohesive message. (See example)
  • Upper right hand corner. This is a great place to position a quote, photo or other emotionally compelling material. (See example)
  • Captions or callout boxes. Again, make sure they appeal to the donor emotionally. (See example)
  • The “ask.” You must come right out and ask your reader for a donation!
  • Reply device. This might be a card that is separate from your appeal letter, but it’s a crucial part of your appeal package. Your letter is designed to move people to give, and the reply device must make it easy for them to give. Make sure it is clear and easy to understand. (See example.)


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