20+ Donation Letter Examples & Templates
Asking for donations and soliciting for funds is never something to be ashamed of, as long as you are doing it for a good cause. In fact, people would be more inclined to help you. However, we can’t simply rely on the goodness of other people’s hearts and their willingness to help.
We must follow the right process of asking donations by sending a professional donation letter. In this article, we will discuss how to do exactly that.
Elements of a Good Donation Letter
You know you have a good cause worthy of support, but writing a donation letter that can convince potential donors of this is not always easy. Below, you will find specific advice on how to craft each of the three major parts of a donation letter and tips to help guide you.
- Personalize Letters: If possible, use your recipient’s name in your letter to make it feel more personalized and less business-like. Although this is a formal professional document, you don’t want to sound too stiff. Being warm and friendly is as important as being formal.
- Grab the reader’s attention: This is pretty cliche, but it is important to start your letter with something that will captivate the reader, such as a bold question, statement, or story of a specific person or situation that your charity has helped. Telling a story and creating a scene is one of the most successful ways to get your message across. It gives the reader a glimpse into your world and reminds them why your mission is so important and why they should be a part of it.
- Update reader on what their last donation achieved: Giving your donors an update on what their donation was able to achieve for your charity before you ask them for another round of gifts is often the key to making them loyal donors.
- Focus on a specific program or initiative: Focus on a particular project or theme instead of giving your donor a reader’s digest version of your charity’s whole history. Some real story experiences can also make it real for your reader.
- Thank donors and tell them that they are necessary: If your recipient is already a previous donor, don’t forget to thank them for their contributions. It will also help if you remind them of the importance of their support for your organization.
- Explain the cause: To make your donation letter more effective, make it a point to remind your recipient of the importance of your cause and why it is absolutely critical that you continue to do what you are doing.
- Suggest donation amounts and what it will achieve: Sometimes, donors don’t know what amount is enough. You can create a list of suggested amounts appropriate for the donor. Make your need clear to your recipient as well so that they can choose what to give you on their own initiative.
- Detail the consequences of not acting: Another good way of showing your donor just how important their help is is by making them understand the consequences of not acting. No, this is not a guilt trip. It’s simply a way of making them understand the consequences of certain actions, which you are helping them see.
- Thank donors in advance for their support: This is simply a subtle implication that you expect them to continue helping.
- Tell them again why their contribution is important: You may also want to reinforce here why you need their help to remind them of the importance of their help to your cause.
14+ Donation Letter Templates
Donation Acknowledgement Letter
Charitable Donation Letter
Donation Request Template
Donation Request Letter
Giving Donation Letter
Sample Donation Request Letter for Non-Profit
Giving Donation Letter
Sample Sponsorship Letter for Donations
Thank You Letter for Donation Template
Charitable Donation Letter
Sample Church Donation Letter
Donation Request Letter
Stock Donation Letter
School Donation Letter
Athletic Sponsorship Donation Letter
Simple Tips for an Excellent Donation Letter
Aside from the content of your donation letter, you must also try to achieve a clean and professional appearance for your letter. There are a few things you can do to achieve that.
- Appearance always counts, contrary to what other people may . Although it’s not the most important factor, it matters too. So make sure that you make your letter appealing and readable. Keep your paragraphs short. Use subheads, bullets, centering, and other layout tools that guide the eye where you want it to go. Look at it with a designer’s eye so that it isn’t just a business letter, but a creative expression.
- There is an ongoing controversy about the length of letters, with most people assuming that shorter letters are better. But there is no definitive answer to that, and studies have shown that people give larger gifts in response to longer donation letters. The length of the letter should be guided by the message.
- Make your message real. Humanize it. Connect with the reader, making him you in the story.
- Remember that people are motivated by benefits. Every nonprofit has needs so that can’t be the whole story. Make sure that you make it clear how people will benefit from this donation.
- While good grammar is, of course, key, don’t be afraid to deviate from what your English teacher drummed into you. Phrases, instead of complete sentences, are a good tool when they dramatize your message and convey emotion. One sentence can be a paragraph if it helps you make your point.
Steps to Creating a Donation Letter
No matter how digital savvy you are, if you want to be successful in raising a fund for your cause, you need to come to grips with the fact that direct mail donation letters still work. Here are some tips to help you get ready for your fundraising letters:
1. Determine who your donation letter’s recipient is:
Fundraising works best when it’s one person writing to another person. So who is the one person that will be writing this letter, and to whom will it be addressed? Specific names and titles are necessary and important, as we’ve already discussed, to personalize your letter and make your recipient feel that it was personally created for him.
2. Tell a story:
Studies show that statistics kill donation results. Engaging the part of the brain that pours over figures and pie charts actually suppresses the part of the brain that makes donation decisions. Plus, it’s plain boring. Rather than talking about all the animals you save or all the kids you help and all the people you support, choose one inspiring story and let it take root in the heart of your donor.
Focus on that one person’s story. What’s their name? What’s their situation? Why is it so urgent to support them? It helps to imagine yourself having coffee with the one donor to whom you are writing. What would you tell that donor? Put that on paper.
3. Make it scannable:
Fundraising expert Jeff Brooks encourages you to take just enough time so that the letter doesn’t look perfect. It’s important to make your fundraising appeal skimmable. Something people can scan and get the gist of in seconds. So don’t hesitate to use bold and italics or even underlines to help get the message across quickly.
4. Include a postscript:
So many nonprofit leaders resist using a P.S. They say it’s sloppy and professional. But decades of eye motion studies show that it is the first part of the donation letter that a donor reads after their name. So sum up your entire message in the two to three sentences of a postscript. You’re not ready to write a donation appeal until you’re ready to write a compelling P.S.
5. Include a reply device:
Sending a fundraising letter without a reply device is a waste of money. So think about how you will craft this. Most nonprofits tend to use a slip of paper or card stock with options on it. When it comes to options, less is always more. Neuroscience shows us that people like 3–4 options, but any more than that causes their mind to shut down.
6. Be strategic when choosing your mailing list:
Create a list of people to whom you want the letter to be sent. Do you want to send it to all your existing donors, active over the last year or not? Or only to people who have not given this year? Or maybe only to people that have given? Direct mail studies show your best gift prospects are the people who most recently gave. Pulling people from mailings simply because they made a gift within this calendar year can be detrimental to your fundraising effort. Make sure that you put some good thought into the list you’ll be sending your fundraising appeal to.
7. Create a specific landing page for the fundraising appeal:
A simple, special page dedicated solely to collecting money from this fundraising appeal is best. Having one general online donation form is a bad idea. It’s pretty simple to create a page that has the look and feel of the direct mail fundraising letter, so do it. Design it to have a visual tie-in with the buck slip from the letter but to also be able to stand alone if people are responding from links in social media or email. Don’t leave out the online giving form as part of your direct mail process. Recent studies indicate that one of the best ways to drive online giving is to send a letter!
Types of Donation Letters
- Donation Request Letters. These are nonprofit fundraising letters that charitable organizations send out to individual donors or prospects. They are said to be most effective toward the end of the calendar year when donors are determining their pre-tax season finances. People also tend to be more charitable in November and December, which means that your donation request letter has a better chance of encouraging a donation.
- Church Fundraising Letters. Church fundraising letters can take many forms. They can be used to ask for general church-related contributions, but they can also be used for specific fundraising efforts such as charity auction item requests, fundraising event donations, sponsorship requests, mission trip funding, church building funds, missionary support.
- Individual Fundraising. Nonprofits aren’t the only ones who have fundraising needs. Sometimes, individuals need to raise money for a cause, project, or life event. If that’s the case, you can use individual fundraising letters to send out donation requests to members of your community and local businesses.
- Sponsorship Letters. These are used by nonprofits that are looking to receive corporate sponsorship donations for a specific project or event. It normally includes a proposal cover letter, sponsorship levels document, and an acknowledgment letter.
Donation Letter FAQs
How do you write a good fundraising letter?
A few important points about standard donation request letters:
- Letters should be donor-centric.
- It should begin with a personal salutation.
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Don’t forget the self-addressed and stamped envelope.
- Make sure someone signs the letter.
- Add a P.S.
What is a donation acknowledgment letter?
A donor acknowledgment letter is more than just a “thank you” letter. Tax-exempt nonprofits have certain requirements to follow, including providing donors with a donation “receipt” which is more often called an acknowledgment letter.
Instead of spending too much time and effort walking about, asking for donations, simply create a list of prospects you think are willing to help you. Then, proceed to create a professional and appealing donation letter to express your need for their support.