Fundraising Best Practices

  • Design

    Use a font size that is appropriate for your audience, 13pt to 15pt are often recommended.  You should be able to easily skim each paragraph. Use indentation, short sentences, and 2-3 sentences per paragraph. Use bold, italic and underlines for key messages. Use photos sparingly (or better, not a...
  • Audience

    The most profitable investment is in people who are already familiar with your organization and cause. Don’t forget about auxiliary groups such as volunteers, past employees and alumni, people who have attended events, or have made a special tribute gift. Segment recipient lists and customize m...
  • Copywriting

    General Copywriting Tips Write your fundraising letters as conversation between two people, not an essay. Think of your writing like you are sending a letter to your mother or your friend. Fundraising letters should be friendly – frequently use "you" and "I", informal language, and contractions....
  • Planning

    Create a comprehensive calendar-year direct mail program. Focus on the overall income generated by an annual schedule of communications, well timed with variation in format or content. Comprehensive calendars include a multi-channel approach to: Acquisition Renewal Stewardship Organizations tha...
  • Frequency

    Donors give out of discretionary funds, a full year of planned appeals will help them give when they can. Four to eight solicitations per year allow donors flexibility in opportunities to support, builds donor base and loyalty. Program sustainability depends on converting one time donors to loy...
  • Analysis

    The best benchmark is your own organization’s performance over time. Without insight into composition and drivers of national benchmarks, you may arrive at flawed conclusions. The most useful and reliable way to measure performance trends combines contextual knowledge with a program’s comparison ...