Posts

6 types of fundraising letters for nonprofits

6 Types of Fundraising Letters: Write Amazing Appeals!

Sending out fundraising letters might seem like an old-fashioned way to ask for donations, but they can be extremely effective when written correctly!

If you’ve been looking for fundraising letters, look no further! We’ve got six of the most common fundraising letters that nonprofits should be sending out to their donors.

Here’s what we’ll be going over:

  1. Donation Request Letters
  2. Church Fundraising Letters
  3. Individual Fundraising Letters
  4. Matching Gift Fundraising Letters
  5. Sponsorship Letters
  6. Donor Thank-You Letters

Let’s jump right in!

1. Donation Request Letters

Fundraising Letters - donation request letters

What are donation request letters?

Donation request letters are nonprofit fundraising letters that charitable organizations send out to individual donors and/or prospects.

They can be sent on their own or included in a welcome packet that contains pamphlets, booklets, and additional information.

When should you use them?

Your nonprofit can use donation request letters at any time of the year! However, they are particularly 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.

You can send out donation request letters to any of your donors, but these types of communications are better received by older generations. While millennials respond to digital donation appeals, the baby boomer generation overwhelmingly prefers direct mail.

Example letter


Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Donor’s Name],

[Begin with an emotional appeal. A success story or a narrative that tugs on your donors’ heartstrings hooks your readers. Keep it short, though!]

Our community/nation/world is facing [problem(s) your organization is trying to fix]. While we are actively [insert current solutions your organization is attempting], we need your help to make our efforts go even further!

You can help us [solve the problem you’re trying to fix]. Your support is crucial to our efforts to [solve the problem].
If you’re able, we’d love it if you could make a donation of [amount] to help us achieve our mission and [solve problem].

Thank you in advance for your contribution. Your donation will go toward [insert effort, accomplishment, or project].

Here are the ways you can make a donation:

— Make a donation online at [URL to donation page or crowdfunding campaign page]
— Call us at [phone number]
— Send a check in the pre-stamped envelope we’ve included (no cash, please!)
— Text [keyword] to [text-to-give phone number]

Thank you again!
Sincerely,

[Signature of an organizational leader]
[Typed name of organizational leader]

P.S. [End with an update about an upcoming event, volunteer opportunity, or other information]

 



2. Church Fundraising Letters

Fundraising Letters - church fundraising letters

What are 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.

It’s common for churches to send out fundraising letters to notify congregants when church events or other fundraising initiatives are occurring. These types of fundraising letters can be used to share the details—date, time, location, etc.—of the event as well as encourage those who can’t attend to give in advance.

For our purposes, we’ll be talking about a generic church fundraising letter that you can use to ask for general contributions.

You can send church fundraising letters to members of your congregation or to community members, depending on your fundraising need.

When should you use them?

You can send out church letters whenever you have a fundraising need! Churches rely on the generosity of their congregants to keep the doors open and the lights on.

Of course, you shouldn’t send out too many church fundraising letters. Limit your letters to a few per year and rely on in-person appeals during a church service for the majority of your fundraising efforts.

Sample letter


Date

Your Name
Your Church’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Church Member’s Preferred Name],

Greetings! We hope this letter finds you well and that you’ve had a relaxing, blessed holiday season. Because you’re an important part of our church family, we thought you’d want to know about our big plans for this new year.

As you may know, our congregation is growing. Just like any family, the more members you have, the more room you need. We’re pleased to invite you to be an important part of this exciting process!

This Sunday afternoon, [your church’s name] is hosting a special event to raise money for the brand new sanctuary and bell tower. How blessed are we to have so many members like yourself that we need to build an entirely new structure?

It’s our greatest hope that you’ll be able to join us at [date and time] for a family fun carnival! Snacks and drinks will be provided for a small price. The only thing you need to bring is your sense of fun and adventure!

Admission is free, but of course, willing contributions of any size are always accepted.

If you have any questions about the event or the new sanctuary or bell tower, please feel free to reach out to our special projects coordinator, [name] at [phone number] or email her at [email address].

As always, have a blessed day. We hope to see you Sunday!

His Clay,

[Pastor’s Signature]

[Pastor’s Name]



3. Individual Fundraising Letters

Fundraising Letters - individual fundraising letters

What are individual fundraising letters?

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.

Whatever you’re raising money for, an individual fundraising letter can help you generate funds for your cause, project, or event!

When should you use them?

You can use an individual fundraising letter whenever you need to raise money for a cause or project that means a lot to you. Of course, you shouldn’t just rely on fundraising letters to raise money.

You can set up a crowdfunding campaign to supplement your fundraising efforts. You can also use your fundraising letter to direct people to your crowdfunding page to give them an easy way to make a donation.

Letter template


Date

Your Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Donor’s Name],

My name is [your name] and I am [describe your position/situation/background]. I am looking to raise [amount of money] to help me pay for [project/expense/cause/etc.].

[Include information about why the cause or project is important to you and how it could potentially impact the reader or those you serve].

I’m writing to ask you to support me and my [cause/project/etc.]. Just a small donation of [amount] can help me [accomplish task/reach a goal/etc.]

Your donation will go toward [describe exactly what the contribution will be used for].

[When possible, add a personal connection to tie the donor to the cause. For example, if you’re raising money to help build a school in a developing country and you’re writing to a teacher, emphasize the fact that everyone deserves a quality education].

Thank you in advance for your contribution. You have no idea how much it means to me to have your support.

Here are the ways you can make a donation:

— Make a donation online at [URL of your crowdfunding campaign]
— Send a check in the pre-stamped envelope I’ve included (no cash, please!)
— Come to my fundraising event on [date] at [location] [when applicable]

Thank you again!
Sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your typed name]



4. Matching Gift Fundraising Emails or Letters

Fundraising Letters - matching gift fundraising letters

What are matching gift fundraising letters?

Matching gift fundraising letters are tangible letters (or emails) that nonprofits send out to donors to remind them to submit matching gift requests.

For those who don’t know, matching gifts are a type of corporate giving program. After an employee has made a charitable donation to an eligible nonprofit, they can submit paperwork to their company’s HR department. If the donation and the nonprofit meet the company’s requirements, the business will make a contribution to the nonprofit for the same amount.

However, many donors simply don’t know that their employer offers a matching gift program.

That’s where a matching gift fundraising letter comes in!

Your nonprofit should send out communications to remind donors that their contributions might be eligible to be doubled (and sometimes, even tripled!).

When should you use them?

The best time to promote matching gifts (besides during the donation process itself) is directly after a donation has been made.

Your nonprofit is still fresh in donors’ minds, and they’ll be more likely to submit a matching gift request.

As soon as a donor has made a contribution (regardless of how the donation was made), your nonprofit should send out an automatic email that:

  1. Thanks them for their donation, and
  2. Encourages them to submit a matching gift request.

You can also follow up a few days later with a matching gift fundraising letter if the donor hasn’t already submitted a matching gift request.

Example letter


Here is an example of a matching gift fundraising email:

Matching gift fundraising letters

This is an excellent example of a direct mail letter/postcard that promotes matching gifts:

Matching gift fundraising letters

Use these letters and emails in conjunction with one another to maximize your nonprofit’s matching gift potential!



5. Sponsorship Letters

Fundraising Letters - sponsorship letters

What are sponsorship letters?

Sponsorship letters are used by nonprofits that are looking to receive corporate sponsorship donations for a specific project or event.

Sponsorship letter packages include:

  • A sponsorship proposal cover letter.
  • A sponsorship levels document.
  • A sponsorship acknowledgement letter.

The proposal letter is the formal request for a sponsorship donation. It explains the nonprofit’s fundraising need and details how the funds will be used.

The sponsorship levels document is how companies decide how much they would like to give. This document lists out a few different sponsorship levels and the perks that come with each level. The higher the donation, the more perks the company receives.

The sponsorship acknowledgement letter is a thank-you to the company after they have made a donation. Your nonprofit can send out an acknowledgement immediately after a donation has been made and after the event has ended.

When should you use them?

Sponsorship letters should be sent out well in advance of your event or project. You want to give the company enough time to consider and respond to your donation request.

Sample letter


Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [CEO/CSR Manager/Business Owner/etc.],

[Open with a description of your organization. Give some brief background including your mission, vision, and how you serve your community.]

We are hosting our [event name] on [date] at [location]. Last year’s event was such a huge success that we decided to host the event again!

In the past, this event has raised [amount] and has [list out specific accomplishments using statistics and figures].

This year we’re hoping to raise even more! Our goal is [amount], and we were hoping that you could help us reach that goal.

By becoming one of our corporate sponsors, you’ll be able to [list out projects that corporate donations could help accomplish].
We’ve also listed out some of the incentives and perks that your company can enjoy should you decide to become one of our corporate sponsors (see attached Sponsorship Levels Document). Regardless of the amount you choose to give, your company name will be included in our event program and you’ll be included in the press release that we’ll publish on our website.

We’re accepting cash donations as well as in-kind donations of goods or services. Feel free to make a contribution that you’re comfortable with.

See the attached Sponsorship Levels Document to find the giving level that’s right for your company. If you’re ready to make a donation, please tear off the perforated section of the following document and send it back to us in the self-addressed envelope we’ve enclosed.

I’d like to thank you in advance for your generosity. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at [phone number] or [email] if you have any questions.

Sincerely/All the best/etc.,

[Your printed name]
[Your title]

[Your signature]



6. Donor Thank-You Letters

Fundraising Letters - donor thank you letters

What are donor thank-you letters?

Donor thank-you letter are pretty self-explanatory.

These letters (or emails!) are meant to be used after a donor has made a contribution of any kind, including:

  • Monetary contributions.
  • In-kind donations.
  • Volunteer time.
  • A matching gift from an employer.
  • And more!

When should you use them?

Your donor thank-you letters should be sent out as soon as you receive a contribution. Donors should receive an acknowledgement within two days of making a donation.

Feel free to send out an acknowledgement email as well as a direct mail letter. You can never be too appreciative of your donors!

Letter template


Date

Your Name
Your Organization’s Name
Street
City, State ZIP

Dear [Donor’s Preferred Name],

I can’t tell you how much all of us at [nonprofit name] appreciate your contribution to our cause. Thanks to your donation of [amount], we’ll be able to [list out specific goals, objectives, etc.].

I also wanted to let you know that we’ll be [hosting volunteer event, opening up our nonprofit’s doors for tours, holding a fundraising event, etc.]. We’d love to extend an invitation to you to participate in this opportunity! Our current donors have all enjoyed developing a stronger partnership with our organization, and I’m hoping you’ll do the same.

Thank you again!

[Your printed name]
[Your title]

[Your signature]


We hope that these six fundraising letter templates have given you some insight into how to write an amazing fundraising appeal. Which ones have you used in the past? Which letters have you had the most success with?

If you want to learn more valuable fundraising tips, check out these additional resources:

  1. Must-Know Nonprofit Software: Every nonprofit needs fundraising software if they want to raise money online. Learn about the top vendors providing nonprofits with top-notch tools to help you raise more donations.
  2. Online Fundraising Guide: Looking for more ways you can raise money online. You’re in luck! This extensive guide will lead you through everything you need to know about raising money online.
  3. 113+ Fundraising Ideas: Put your new fundraising letters to use by hosting a fundraiser. With our list of over one hundred ways to raise money, you’re bound to find an idea that will work perfectly for your nonprofit.


Donation form optimization hacks

10 Donation Form Optimization Hacks to Raise More Funds!

If your nonprofit has started asking for donations online or via mobile devices, then congratulations! Your organization is part of a growing movement to shift fundraising to more efficient and accessible methods.

With all of the new technology that seems to be changing every minute, it can be difficult to pinpoint what makes an online donation form so amazing.

Is it the image at the top of the form?

Is it the ease of giving?

Perhaps it’s the consistent branding?

Hint: It’s all of these (plus a few extra!).

This article will serve as your one-stop shop for donation form optimizations. Whether you’re building one from the ground up or you’re looking to enhance the donation form you already have, these tricks and tips can help guide you toward an amazing donation form that will encourage donors to keep giving.

  1. Get the Word Out
  2. Simplify Your Donation Form
  3. Offer Different Giving Levels
  4. Encourage Donors to Look Into Other Giving Opportunities
  5. Remind Donors of Why They’re Giving
  6. Keep Your Branding Consistent
  7. Give Donors the Opportunity to Share their Donation on Social Media
  8. Create a Seamless Giving Experience Across all Giving Channels
  9. Go Mobile
  10. Plan for What Happens Afterwards

Let’s dive right into these 10 donation form optimization hacks your organization should implement.

And for ten more tips, check out Qgiv’s list of 20 donation form best practices.

get the word out

1. Get The Word Out

No one will know about your donation form if you don’t tell them about it.

You’re likely already asking your supporters for their donations of time and money. Use those donation appeals to drive traffic to your online donation page.

Include info about your donation form:

Whenever  you’re communicating with donors, you should be spreading the word about your online donation page.

Takeaway: Getting the word out about your donation form is crucial for seeing those spikes in traffic and, eventually, that boost in your donor conversion rate.

simplify your donation form

2. Simplify Your Donation Form

Does your donation page have five images, three blocks of text, and links to other pages on your site?

If yes, it might be time to rethink the formatting of your donation form.

The fewer distractions donors have once they land on your donation page, the better. You want to keep them focused on the task at hand: donating.

Take this nonprofit’s donation form, for example:

Her Song Donation FormNotice how clean and streamlined this donation form looks. The nonprofit’s logo is featured at the top, and the only other text on the form is for the “Freedom Campaign.”

Incorporating cluttering links and extraneous navigation only distracts donors from the giving process.

Takeaway: Maximize your donor conversion rate by keeping supporters focused on donating.

offer different giving levels

3. Offer Different Giving Levels

Sometimes, donors need a little nudge in the right direction.

Your donation form can give them a that nudge with the end result being larger donations!

How?

Let me explain:

If a donor arrives on your donation page with the intention of giving $45, sees an empty field labeled, “Donation Amount,” she’s likely to type in “45” and complete the donation.

But, if that same donor sees options for $10, $25, $30, $50, and so on, she’s far more likely to choose the $50 option.

Why?

It’s simple psychology, really. Donors want to appear more generous. The extra five dollars doesn’t seem like an extra expense, and it’s easier for them to simply select an option than plug in their own donation amount.

Check out this example donation form:

styles 4 girlz donation form

You should, of course, still offer a blank field for donors who want to choose their own amount. Donors are the ones in control of their finances, and they know what’s best for their wallets.

Note how this example also describes what each donation level provides for, in this case, girls in need. This way, donors know the impact of their donation.

Takeaway: Offer donors different giving levels to increase donation amounts and keep donors informed of what their donations go toward.

encourage donors to look into other giving opportunities

4. Encourage Donors to Look Into Other Giving Opportunities

In addition to the aforementioned tips and tricks, you should also dedicate a section of your donation form to matching gifts, volunteering opportunities, and other giving avenues.

Donors who find themselves on your donation form might be first time supporters or lifetime donors.

Give both demographics a chance to continue giving to your organization by offering other giving options on your donation page.

Check out this example nonprofit:

Boys and Girls Club Donation Form

This donation form only touches on planned giving and matching gifts, but you can include information about:

Just remember that the more options you offer on your donation page, the lower your donor conversion rate will be. If you want to find out about what other types of giving opportunities your donors might be interested in, you can also ask them directly or send out a survey via email.

Takeaway: Use your donation form to capture interest in other giving avenues, but be careful about including too many options.

remind donors of why they're giving

5. Remind Donors of Why They’re Giving

Donors give to your organization because they feel deeply connected to your cause. They want to help you accomplish your mission and demonstrate their support with donations.

Your donation form should help remind donors of why they’re contributing to your organization in the first place. 

Let me explain with an example:

bbbs northern nj donation form

This donation form accomplishes a few things at once:

  1. It provides context for what donations will go toward.
  2. It shows, with a single image, the people who will benefit from donations.
  3. It gives an email address and a phone number for more information or questions.

Notice that the top of this donation form is still simple and doesn’t overwhelm the user. It does, however, provide an emotional appeal for donors who arrive on the page. The image is heart-warming, and the text gives donors the context they may need to finish the donation process.

Takeaway: Remind donors of why they’re giving by including images and brief text to help put their donation in context.

keep your branding consistent

6. Keep your Branding Consistent

Imagine this: one of your newest supporters finds himself on your website, looking at your Ways to Give page.

Your entire website is consistent: you use the same colors, logos, and fonts on all of your pages and blog posts.

But when he clicks on your “Donate Now” button, he is taken to a donation form that is devoid of those same colors, logos, and fonts.

In fact, the donation form could be for anything, and it certainly doesn’t feel like it belongs on your nonprofit’s website.

You can remedy this issue by keeping your brand consistent throughout your website and your donation form.

Let’s look at a quick example:

Her Song Donation Form

Notice how the logo is still present at the top while “Home” is highlighted in red. The fonts are all consistent, creating a seamless giving experience for donors.

Takeaway: Maintain uniform branding across your website and your donation form to give supporters a great donating experience.

Bonus: Looking for a website design firm to help you maintain a cohesive brand on your nonprofit’s website and donation forms? Check out this helpful list of website builders.

give donors the opportunity to share their donation on social media

7. Give Donors the Opportunity to Share their Donation on Social Media

If you want to expand your donor base and give your existing supporters the chance to brag about themselves a little bit, include social media sharing buttons somewhere on your donation form.

Of course, the post that gets shared shouldn’t include any of their personal or financial information. It can be something as simple as a link to your donation form!

Take a look at this example:

Arizona Literacy and Learning Center Donation Form

Note how this particular donation form includes social sharing information at the top of the form. Donors can recommend or share on Facebook or tweet a link to the donation form via Twitter.

Takeaway: Your donation form should be just as shareable as the rest of the content on your website. Include social sharing buttons to encourage donors to brag about themselves to their social networks.

create a seamless giving experience across all giving channels

8. Create a Seamless Giving Experience Across all Giving Channels

Some of your donors aren’t going to want to give online. They might prefer giving over the phone, by mail, or via other traditional donating methods.

How do these donors fit into your online fundraising strategy, though?

The key is to make sure that all donors have a great giving experience, regardless of their method of donating.

This means that you should:

  • Maintain consistent branding in all communications.
  • Segment your appeals.
  • Be genuine during all of your asks.
  • Acknowledge consistently.

Creating a seamless giving experience across all of your giving channels will help donors who move from giving via check to giving online feel more confident in their switch.

Takeaway: Make sure that your organization is consistent when making donation appeals with several different methods and strategies.

go mobile

9. Go Mobile

Did you know that 91% of American adults own a smartphone?

It’s extremely likely that many of those smartphone users are learning about your nonprofit on their mobile devices.

Is your donation form optimized for their mobile giving experience? 

If not, you might be missing out on a serious chunk of your online donations.

Let’s take a look at what a mobile donation form should look like:

her song mobile donation form

See how this donation form sticks to the first 8 tips we’ve covered? The branding is consistent, it’s simple, and there are social sharing buttons at the top of the page.

Takeaway: Make your donation page mobile to raise money from donors who like to give on the go!

plan for what happens afterwards

10. Plan for What Happens Afterwards

Just because a donor isn’t giving in person or over the phone doesn’t mean that the donation process should be impersonal or distant.

On the contrary, since online giving leans toward a more anonymous experience, your donor acknowledgements should be more tailored to donors.

This means that you can’t just have an acknowledgement screen after the donation has gone through that says, “Thanks!” and hope that that covers it.

You’ll also need to send a follow up email or letter that contains a donation receipt and a genuine acknowledgement of the contribution.

Furthermore, you should reference past donations in future appeals. Donors will be grateful for your appreciation of their previous gifts. It might even encourage them to give more in the future!

Takeaway: Make sure that you have a solid acknowledgement plan in place for your online supporters.

 

If you follow these ten tips, you should be on your way to donation form success. Don’t miss out on substantial donations by having a lackluster donation form.


Abby Jarvis QgivAbby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider.

Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes.

When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.