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Fundraising Tips for Nonprofits

Need some advice to writing your nonprofit appeal letters? Here are some of the top fundraising tips for nonprofits.

  • Embrace white space: Make your letter as easy to read as possible by adding lots of blank space. This means shorter letters that get to the point quickly. Remove any stumbling blocks like big walls of text. Make it easy for your readers to skim.
  • Ask often: It can take up to 8 times before your message is received and people have built enough trust to respond. Be sure to send a follow up mailing! A reminder letter will often do just as well, if not better, than the initial communication.
  • Break out of your norm: It seems in times of crisis and constraint, people become more creative and resourceful than ever. Try to think of “outside the box” ideas and let people help in any way they can.
  • Create obtainable goals: Don’t ask your donors to solve a problem larger than them. Solve hunger for one family, not the whole world. Being honest, and sharing your goals with your donor can help them feel like they will make a difference.
  • Keep asking until people stop responding: Oftentimes, we don’t ask our donors for support because we are afraid what their answer might be. But in reality, their answer could be “Yes!” – time and time again. Continue to offer your donors the opportunity to give until they stop responding.
  • Keep the message straightforward: One letter, one goal, one message. Don’t confuse the readers with too many options. If it isn’t 100% clear what you are asking the reader to do, they will do nothing.
  • Ask often in your letter: It may seem too bold to ask three times in the letter, especially when you’re making each ask bold and underlined. But people skim letters and it needs to be obvious what they’re being asked to do. Make sure you get an ask on the very first page too!
  • Target donors thoughtfully: Be mindful of what donors are going through. We never want to exploit a situation, but we can’t act like it’s not happening either. Some donors are taking a hit on investments, but many still will help. Be honest with them about the struggles you may be facing too. But be mindful of their situation as well.
  • Send real invitation for virtual events: It seems odd, but sending a no-event invitation will definitely stick in your reader’s mind. And including an RSVP-esque reply card gives your donors an easy way to give.
  • Don’t stop fundraising: Income may be down and it gets hard to justify costs. But one of the worst things you can do is to stop fundraising. Stop fundraising and you’ll have even bigger gaps to fill later. Most often, when you spend money on fundraising you net an even higher return.
  • Send your message soon: It’s more important to get your message out when it’s good and the timing is right, rather than wait for it to be perfect and too late.

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