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Top Three Mistakes People Make When Writing a Fundraising Letter

Writing a fundraising letter for your organization can be the high point—or downfall—of your campaign to raise valuable money for your organization. Your letter may be your one chance to make a good first impression while increasing awareness of your organization and cause, and you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to make a valuable connection with your audience. Penning a letter for fundraising may mean that you need to temporarily set aside your typical rules for writing and creating marketing materials so that you can make the letter as compelling as possible to the letter recipient. Avoiding the pitfalls of fundraising letter writing is imperative to hitting a home run with your letter. Here are the top 3 mistakes that people make when writing a fundraising letter:

1.      They don’t make it personal

A letter for fundraising isn’t a press release or advertorial. It’s a direct appeal from one human being to another for money or other types of support for your cause. Oftentimes, ineffective fundraising letters are written to the masses and read more like a press release or news brief than a personal piece of mail. Be sure to make your letter personal and use the words “You” or “I”. People will be more receptive to you if they think you took the time to address them personally.

2.      They don’t highlight the benefits

Yes, of course your reader knows that you’re asking for something but what they are likely thinking is—-“What will I get from your organization in return?” Most sponsors will be more likely to offer a donation if they know that they will be getting something valuable in return. So, whether it’s free advertising or some good old fashioned publicity, make sure to clearly state what they can expect in terms of a ROI in your fundraising letter.

3.      They don’t make it specific

In a letter for fundraising, you want the content to be polite and respectful, but don’t mince words about what you’re looking for. People often make the mistake of being too vague in a fundraising letter because they don’t want to come across as being too pushy or run the risk of being rejected. It’s always best to be very polite but also very specific about what you are requesting. Whether you are asking for money from a big corporation or donated personal items for a silent auction, stating your request clearly and including a call to action is more likely to get results.