The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
There are countless books, essays and Web site resources that claim to have the best advice for writing effective fundraising letters. Many “rules” contradict one another. Some say a long letter that repeats your case is better than a short one. Others say keep it short and to the point.
NCF’s best advice is simply: Keep it real.
No matter what style or format you use, there are seven elements that make every fund raising letter more effective:
Thanks and praise
If they are past donors thank them for their continuing support. They can feel proud to be helping to make their community a better place for their family, friends and neighbors.
If they are not past donors…thank them for considering becoming part of a growing number of people who are investing in the future of their community for the family, friends and neighbors.
Here are examples of fundraising letters from affiliated funds that accomplish several of the objectives described above:
These letters are pretty good examples of how you could approach writing your next fundraising letter. Every affiliated fund is different; there is no “magic bullet” generic letter that is right for everyone. Including these seven elements in every fundraising letter, however, will always help!
Do not try to write your fundraising letter by committee. Rather, have one person write it and then have two or three people review it and make suggestions.
Always write a thank you card or note when you receive a contribution, even though NCF provides donors with an official receipt.
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