4 Donation Request Letter Samples You Can Use
It’s one of the most stressful, time-consuming, and important tasks for any nonprofit: finding and securing donations. In addition to regular operations like providing services or support, nonprofits have to constantly be positioning their organization to be top of mind for interested donors.
Of course, that is much easier said than done.
Securing donations can actually cost nonprofits a lot of money which, obviously, cannot be directed toward the stated purpose of the nonprofits. In fact, the cost of fundraising is such an important statistic that Charity Watch ranks organizations with a letter grade based on the amount they spend on fundraising.
There have also been some public controversies regarding nonprofits and their use of funds with some major names being exposed for spending as little as 3% on their stated cause with a large portion of funds being directed to additional fundraising and personal enrichment for executives.
While the old saying, “You have to spend money to make money,” is true in many cases; there are affordable ways for nonprofits to raise funds for their important operations.
One of the most cost-effective ways of capturing the eyes of potential donors is a donation request letter. A well-crafted donation request letter is relatively low-cost but it can net incredible results.
Of course, if a donation request letter is written poorly then it is hardly worth more than the paper it’s printed on.
If you are tasked with canvassing for donations on behalf of your nonprofit then you should enjoy these tips and samples that will help make your donation request letter more effective and productive.
Always Create a Personalized Letter
Before we jump into the samples, it should be clear that these samples should be personalized for both your nonprofit and the intended audience.
With over 1.5 million registered nonprofits operating in the United States, a simple boilerplate donation request letter will not cut it. In fact, boring, run-of-the-mill request letters are unlikely to warrant a second glance.
For a moment, put yourself in the shoes of decision makers at large companies or the shoes of a wealthy philanthropist. These people likely receive several donation request letters each week. How can your letter stand out among the rest? The easiest method is simple personalization.
Now, let’s look at some donation request letter samples!
1. The Corporate Donation Request Letter
Corporate donors are highly sought after by nonprofits. Having a committed corporate partner on board can single-handedly make or break a fundraising drive. Some corporations have committed large budgets to charitable donations and typically like to pick a few nonprofit organizations to support strongly instead of spreading funds too thin.
However, corporations also usually have strict guidelines regarding donation request reviews. Getting a major corporation on board with your fundraiser is a major success and not easy to achieve. Of course, a great donation request letter is the right place to begin your courtship.
As title sponsor, your name and logo will be seen by the 3,500 people that make their way to park for this yearly gathering of fun, food, and music. In addition, your logo would be prominently featured on all printed materials. During the event, there would also be an opportunity for a representative from ABC Corporation to speak on-stage.
Most importantly, ABC Corporation would be recognized as a committed supporter of XYZ Nonprofit and the thousands of families we help every year.”
“Dear ABC Corporation,
XYZ Nonprofit is proud to be hosting the 8th Annual Picnic in the Park and we are currently seeking a title sponsor for the event.
The most important thing to keep in mind when writing a donation request letter to a corporation is that the corporation will usually look at any donation through a marketing lens. In other words, what do they get for being a major donor?
Don’t be afraid to provide numbers or estimates when appropriate. How is your request different from the others that will be considered? Here is a sample you can customize for your own use:
2. Request Letter for Volunteers
Sometimes the most important donation a nonprofit can receive is the donation of time from members of the general public. In fact, over 80% of nonprofits rely on volunteers to deliver the services they provide. Clearly, volunteers are pretty important in the nonprofit landscape.
In addition, people who are willing to volunteer their time are likely aware of multiple volunteer opportunities but, due to limited availability, must choose which nonprofits they wish to support with their time and hard work.
One way people decide when and where to volunteer is based on how big of a difference they feel their time will make. Try to provide information about the volunteer opportunity and why volunteers are so essential.
Try this sample to find a starting point for your volunteer request letter:
Every year, over 3,500 people attend Picnic in the Park making it our biggest fundraising event of the year. Last year we received $30,000 in donations during the event and are setting a lofty goal of $35,000 for this year.
That goal cannot be reached without dedicated volunteer staff. Volunteers allow us to greatly reduce event expenses and, as a result, we are proud that 93% of every dollar donated is directed back to families in need.”
“Dear Jane Doe,
XYZ Nonprofit will be holding the 8th Annual Picnic in the Park this fall and we are currently seeking out volunteers who will generously donate their time to make this event a success.
3. Specific Program Donation Request Letter
A number of nonprofits provide programs that are fully or partially funded by government funding or grants. However, there are often additional programs that are not eligible for government funding which means they are entirely reliant on donations from the public.
A donation request letter for a specific program serves two purposes. First, the main goal is to obviously raise funds to support the program. Secondly, the donation request letter is an opportunity to educate people about the program and why donations are necessary.
Essentially, the letter is a donation request and a marketing opportunity rolled into one. This sample should help you understand the goal of a request letter for a specific program:
“Dear Jane Doe,
XYZ Nonprofit is proud to provide a number of essential services for the less fortunate in our city. While some of our programs are supported by government funding, other popular programs are not.
The brown bag lunch program provides school lunches to hungry children throughout the city every single school day. 100% of the funding for this important program comes from generous donations from people just like you.
Last year we were able to provide 6,000 bagged lunches to hungry children simply due to the generosity of others. Those children were able to think about math, science, geography, and English instead of thinking about hunger or food.”
4. Goods or Services Donation Request
A good auction can be a great way to raise funds for any nonprofit. Of course, an auction is only as good as the items being auctioned.
Securing great auction items is the very first step to having a successful charity auction. This means that most donation requests will be sent to business owners and corporations with goods and services to donate.
Much like in the first example, you will want to provide an explanation about what’s in it for the donor. Here is an example of how to ask for auction items including goods, services, and gift certificates:
“Dear ABC Company,
This fall, XYZ Nonprofit will be holding our 3rd Annual Auction Event. Last year we were able to raise $20,000 and we are setting our sights even higher this year.
We are contacting local businesses seeking donations in the form of goods, vouchers for service, or gift certificates. All donations will be auctioned with the proceeds being directed to helping those in need.
Your donation will help us continue to provide exceptional service to the less fortunate in our city and expand programs as well. In addition, your name will be seen by the 2,000 live and online bidders participating with lucky winners having the opportunity to become regular customers.”
Spend Time on Donation Requests to Save Money
There are countless fundraising methods at your disposal. However, few are as cost-effective as a donation request letter. Spend the time necessary to write a personalized letter that includes details donors can get excited about.
The additional time spent crafting a donation request letter can bring in additional donations and reduce the need for expensive fundraising methods that cut into the budget and leave less for nonprofits to spend in their community.