5 Tips for Better Fundraising Copy

August 01, 2014 - by Lynsey Gallagher

5 Tips for Better Fundraising Copy 


As fundraisers, we all know how crucial the letter copy is in a direct mail package. Whether it’s a renewal to your loyal donors who are familiar with your cause or an acquisition letter to prospects, the same rules apply for writing a letter that will inspire a gift.

Here are 5 “must haves” in your letters.  Download our full “copywriting check list,” here.

Tip #1:  The Lead:  Dale Carnegie once said, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”  The very first sentence is the most important part of your letter.  No jargon, no complicated phrases – just pure emotion and simple words that will draw the donor in right from the start.

Tip #2:  Write the letter from one person to another person.  Imagine you’re writing to one person in particular, using “I” and “you” often.  The letter shouldn’t read like a press release or a brochure, and it should have a friendly tone.  

Tip #3:  Have a clear, direct ask for a gift on page one!  As we know, most donors won’t read the whole letter so the ask should be easy for donors to spot if they are scanning the letter.  Avoid phrases like “Please consider offering your support today.”  Don’t apologize for asking donors to make that crucial gift. 

Tip #4:  Clearly present your case for support and create urgency around your mission.  The copy always needs to explain the problem and follow it up with the unique solution that your organization offers, even if it’s going to longtime donors! The donor shouldn’t have to fish around for details. 

Tip #5:  The PS:  This is one of the most critical parts of a letter because it might be the only part (other than the lead) that a donor reads.  With that in mind (and tip #1 already taken care of) make sure your PS adds an urgent fact to support your case for giving and asks for a gift!



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