Your spring appeal is a huge opportunity to make a case for support for your non-profit organization and really get a great return on your investment, so, it’s important that you do it well. Here are a few guidelines for writing an effective appeal letter:
1) Keep your letter short- you should never go over two pages.
Donors don’t want to wade through pages jam-packed with information. Too many words will make them skim through your appeal and put it down, never to be thought of again. Don’t let that happen! Take the time to write a short letter that is to the point. Use boxes, bullets, and bold type-you don’t want your appeal to look like a page out of your high school textbooks. Most importantly, make your ask CLEAR and DIRECT. E.g. “Thank you for your last gift of $25, would you consider a gift of $50 this year?”
2) Make your first paragraph your best.
You only have a very small window of time after the Donor opens your appeal before they decide if it goes into the trash or on to their “to-do” list. Again, don’t waste their time, get to the point and deliver a message that is easily understood. Don’t forget the Ask on the first paragraph!
3) Write person-to-person.
People give to people. If your solicitation letter is signed by an individual who is known by the recipient, add the signer’s name as part of your return address on your mailing envelope. This will increase the likelihood of your appeal being opened and read thoroughly. Include information about how your organization (and their gift) helps people, not an institute.
4) Include a standalone reply device or a self- addressed envelope (with response card.)
You want to make giving as easy as possible for your donors. Don’t make them search for paper and an envelope. The reply device should be simple and clear so that anyone can fill it out in less than a minute. Note: You should not put postage on the self-addressed reply device.
5) Use real stamps for your appeal letter.
Some people won’t open envelopes that are obviously sent as a part of a bulk mailing. Take time to purchase and apply postage stamps to the envelope that holds your appeal letter, and your reply device. Don’t fret, you don’t have to lick them and slap them on to each and every envelope- we do that here at Rescigno’s and we’ll save you some time too!
Don’t forget the P.S! Donors will read the first paragraph and the P.S and usually skim through the rest of the letter. Be sure to include your Ask in the P.S too!
If you would like a little help setting up your SPRING APPEAL, or need some fresh new ideas, give Rescigno’s a call at 708-974-2600. We have a dedicated team of consultants ready to help you with any appeal or solicitation you might have coming up!