Five Deal-Breaking Mistakes When Writing a Fundraising Letter

Five Deal-Breaking Mistakes When Writing a Fundraising Letter

April 24, 2017

by Gloria Kopp

Writing letters is an integral part to fundraising. You understand the cause you’re working towards and the need for funds, but unless you get that message across to your supporters, you could be missing out on hitting your fundraising goals.

When putting together your fundraising letters, you need to write in a way that totally and completely captures the heart and minds of your readers. Before they’re done reading that letter, they should feel compelled to donate to your cause. But, your letter should be engaging, interesting and beautiful enough that they’ll want to read to the last word.

Don’t make a costly fundraising blunder by making one of these deal-breaking mistakes that are commonly made. Get the most conversion from the letters you’re sending out, by putting together the most effectively convincing fundraising letter, while steering clear of these mistakes.

  1. Forgetting that the donor is the true hero

Everyone likes to feel like they’re making a difference. And, when they’re giving you their money they want to know how that difference is being made. It’s rare that you’ll find someone willing to throw their money at a cause or organization that they know nothing about, nor nothing about how their money will be used. Not only is it highly irresponsible on their part, but it also doesn’t give them that fulfillment and sense of giving when they don’t know what their money has done.

Making them the hero and showing them that their contribution has made a direct impact gives them that emotional attachment that will help see your fundraising letter have a higher success rate.

Even more important than the information about your cause may be the information about how money will be used and the direct impact that donor will be having on making a difference. So, for that reason, the most important word in your letter will be ‘you.’ Tell the donor how vital they are to this cause, and use specifics when you’re telling them what will happen as a result of their generosity. If you’re not connecting with donors on a personal level, they’re likely to pass up the opportunity to help you out.

  1. Scaring them into helping

Yes, you want to bring in the most fundraising dollars possible, but that’s not likely to happen if you’re trying to scare donors into helping. Focusing on all of the negative things that may happen if your fundraising goal is not reached is no way of connecting to the hearts of others.

Instead, look at things from a positive and hopeful perspective – communicate what you’re already achieved and what you’ll be able to do with their help. Having a bleak and negative message won’t cause donors to take action – in fact, they’ll likely be put off by the whole message and move on to something more positive.

Inspire people rather than scaring them. Focus on the positive that’s already been done and the possibilities for the future, and you’re likely going to see a great response from your donors. Use success stories to show them the possibilities, but be sure you’re not engaging in plagiarism when sharing these stories. Academized is a great resource for information on avoiding plagiarism, so you can keep your credibility intact, while sharing positivity about what you and your donors can achieve.

  1. Writing a novel instead of a letter

There may be a tendency to try to cram all sorts of information into each fundraising letter put out there. You’re passionate about this cause, and you know that others would feel the same if they just knew the details. After all, the more information, the better… right? Not necessarily.

The truth is, although they may be willing to give, they may not share your enthusiasm about the cause. Keeping your message simple and concise means they’re more likely to read your entire letter. A simple word counter, such as Easy Word Count, can keep your letter in check. When it becomes too wordy and convoluted, you risk losing their attention.

Remember that they’re likely busy and could possibly be receiving a number of different fundraising letters. They’ve got little time to dedicate to reading and understanding all of the information you want to present to them. What usually happens is they will skim through your letter to glean the key points, but when it starts becoming so long that they lose interest or don’t have time for it, you run the risk of losing their support altogether. So keep things simple and have one single message you’re focusing on.

There will always be a future opportunity to tell them about another message, but stay on point with the message you’ve chosen for each particular fundraising campaign letter. When you need some help editing and proofreading your letter, to ensure it’s focused on the message at hand, look to Write my essay to provide you with fast, reliable and professional editing assistance. Get your donors to read until the end, because chances are, if they put that letter down with the intention of reading it later, that will never happen and you will have missed out on that fundraising opportunity.

  1. Making dangerous and costly assumptions

Sure, you’re totally involved and immersed in the cause, and you know the details forwards and backwards. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean your potential donors know a thing about you or your charitable work. Assuming others have a certain level of familiarity with what you do is a big mistake. Even donors who have given to you in the past, still may not fully understand the realm of your work.

It’s no fault of their own, of course. It’s just not front and center in their lives, as it may be in yours. They may be totally willing and able to give, but they will likely want to know more before they open their wallets. If they’ve given to you before, they may just need a little reminding about your cause.

A good rule is to write your letter in the same way you would direct it at an absent-minded person, who can’t retain any information you give. The basics are enough – no need to delve into detailed specifics that they won’t remember and likely don’t care about anyway. Sometimes it can be understandably difficult to separate ourselves from the causes we are so passionate about, so when you need a professionally written fundraising letter that gives the necessary details without being too overwhelming, look to the writers at Assignment help for some assistance.

  1. Forgetting the essentials

There are four main components to creating an effective fundraising letter. Include each of these to boost the potential each of your campaigns has.

First, as already mentioned, focus on one single message throughout your letter. It will be less overwhelming for donors to read and understand, so they’re more likely to pay attention. If you’re having trouble sticking to the message and need help from a professional, the writing team at Resumention can put together your letter for you and help you stay on point.

Second, make sure you’ve backed up any statements you’ve made with facts. Whether it’s details of where you’re spending the money they’ve given you, information about upcoming events or statistics around your cause, people want to see concrete evidence of what you’re saying – both because it gives you credibility and because it’s easier to comprehend. And, if you need to cite any outside sources, Cite It In can help you put together flawless resource citations. Keeping your credibility intact is vital to getting and retaining donors, so be sure you’re not committing plagiarism unintentionally by checking with Paper Fellows and their plagiarism guides.

Third, make them want to be involved. Donating their time, money, or getting involved in some other form all take a certain level of passion and interest. Connecting with them on a personal and emotional level can create the desire within them to want to become more involved. Depending on what level of involvement you’re looking for – whether it’s a financial donation or some other type of contribution – you’ll have to tailor your letter to cause them to want to take action. Your campaign may promise follow-up information to be sent to them, keeping them in the loop of what’s happening. Make it easier for you to manage these campaigns by improving your email communication through Email Excellence.

And lastly, tell them directly what you want and need them to do. Don’t beat around the bush – clearly state your call to action, and do it three times throughout your letter. By the end of your letter, they shouldn’t be unclear about how they can help or what they should do. If you download the ProWritingAid to your computer, it’ll give you real time suggestions, as you type, to help make your writing more concise and direct, without the run-on sentences. When your call to action involves getting them to engage in social media, have a management system in place to help you get through the influx of messages you’re likely to receive through your different social media platforms. Buffer gives you the support to manage your social media messages easily and efficiently.

Avoiding these mistakes in your fundraising letter could mean the difference between a highly successful fundraising campaign and a failed one. Connect with your donors on a personal level and steer clear of these deal-breaking errors that could cost you heavily.

Gloria Kopp HeadshotGloria Kopp is a web content writer and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career as a creative writer. At present time she works as a freelance writer and editor. Additionally, she is working on online writing course project that is going to be launched this autumn.