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.
- The more donor-centric and personalized the writing, the better.
- Keep letters at an eighth grade reading level, and avoid using jargon!
- Create an emotional hook, present the problem, and tell donors how they can make the solution possible.
- Include the date of their last gift. Most lapsed donors do not realize it has been so long since they last gave.
- The amount of a donor's last gift will also help build an individualized gift string. Incorporating giving history personalizes solicitations to reflect the importance of each individual donor.
- Be sure to thank your donors, and explain how their gifts have made a difference.
- People give to people first (use in acquisition appeals), and then they want to sustain and improve programs (use in renewal letters).
- Appeals related to true emergencies or crisis brings in more gifts and money than appeals for institutional purposes.
- Institutional appeals tend to have higher donor retention and higher overall income.
- Ask for a specific gift amount, by a specific date, for a specific purpose.
- If you are asking for general funding, show the difference a donor's gifts will make in their community.
- Being specific lets the donors know what is expected of them.
- Ask for your donor's support more than one time in the letter.
- Don’t forget a PS that creates urgency and makes the final ask.
Keep in mind, the reader often only looks at:
- Their name and address
- Who signed the letter
- The PS message