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If You’re Writing Your Own Appeal...

Here are some tips to be sure and include when you compose your fall appeal (or any appeal for that matter):

  • Stir emotions – For many nonprofit organizations, like children’s causes and social service organizations, it’s essential to make the reader of your appeal feel something. But don’t be fooled. Even nonprofits that do medical research, for example, can benefit by investing passion into their letters.

  • Localize your appeal – Words like “Our Annual Fund is underway in (NAME OF DONOR’S CITY OR TOWN) and your help is needed very much right now.” You can also try the following: “In (NAME OF Town), donor support is allowing us to help 13,234 people living with this disease.”

  • When you ask, personalize – “Simon, your last gift of ___, was vital to our ability to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, etc. Please consider another gift of $___.” And then clearly explain how that gift will be used. Avoid any jargon, however.

  • Nurture the relationship by encouraging a dialogue – You can’t thank donors enough. That’s a fact. Ask them to contact you by email, direct mail, or phone to express opinions, get information, volunteer, etc. Tell them that their feedback is important.

  • Ask and then ask again – You should have at least two asks in your letter (one of which should always be in your P.S.—yes, you should always include a P.S. since that is read more than any other part of a letter.

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