Many nonprofit organizations send out a letter to their constituents near the end of the calendar year, appealing for a final donation. This is known as an “annual appeal.” This type of fundraising solicitation is generally sent to people who are already members, donors, volunteers, or in some cases service-recipients, of an organization.
A good annual appeal is a work of art. The writer must truly understand the reason’s for which the organization’s members/ constituents stay engaged and make a compelling, urgent rationale for giving. I have written scores of these letters over the years; here are some important elements to consider when crafting your appeal:
Relevance — connect the organization’s current project(s) to readers’ interests
+ What major accomplishments has organization achieved in the past year?
+ How has this work made the target community/ demographic a better place?
+ Describe how the organization is uniquely positioned to achieve tits goals
Urgency/ Need — what critical, timely need in the community is being addressed?
+ Describe the current situation/ what problems are facing your target community?
+ Use statistics & facts to illustrate the challenges facing community/ demographic
+ What has changed in the past year, which has created undue hardship for community/ demographic?
+ Use current events as context to make your case
Connection — make the reader feel the importance of your work
+ Use a personal anecdote or describe how the problem is affecting real people and how your project will help
+ Connect your work to the reader’s personal narrative/ history
Timeliness — explain why reader’s support is needed now
+ How will the donor’s contribution help change current situation?
+ When will their funds be used
The Ask — make it explicit!
+ If you know giving history for individual, ask for a specific amount
+ Clearly state how their donation will be used
+ State that donation is tax-deductible (if your organization has appropriate designation)
+ If donation will be leveraged or matched, explain how
Organization — the letter should be well organized
+ Use clear language; proof read and spell check several times!
+ Flow should be engaging and logical with seamless transitions
If your organization needs to get out an annual appeal letter before the end of the year, contact Aaron immediately; there still may be time. Our fee for a 1-page letter with a credit card/ donation tear off (not including graphics) is $300. Below is a sample.