Fundraising Letter Templates
Writing fundraising letters can be hard. That’s why we created fundraising letter templates and examples for every sector to help you get started!
Click on the sector on the left to find a fundraising letter example, template, and even donation forms and envelopes to help you craft your own.
For additional help, check out: How To Write The Perfect Fundraising Letter (With Templates)
Many nonprofits give up on the idea of sending fundraising appeal letters, believing they’re expensive and no one reads them, but this is far from true!
A recent Direct Marketing Association study noted the average response rates from direct mail is at 4.4%. That’s 37 times higher than the average email marketing rates at 0.12%.
Fundraising donation letters can be expensive, but the trick with fundraising appeal letters is to develop a strategy and send fewer letters to a targeted group. Do that and watch the donations roll in!
We wanted to help by providing sample fundraising letter templates, and examples for every nonprofit sector, so you’ve got a good start in drafting your own!
Why write fundraising letters?
Consider the fact that 34% of the population in the US is over 50. Most people in this age group prefer receiving letters to email – in fact many don’t even have an email account! By neglecting to write fundraising donation letters – you’re essentially leaving out a large segment of potential donors. A segment that is more likely to make larger contributions and sustain these contributions over time.
To build a sustainable organisation, it’s important to have diverse sources of funding – and fundraising appeal letters can help you reach out to groups that don’t use email or the internet.
Fundraising donation letters don’t always have to cater to older people – sending donation letters to a younger audience has the appeal of being more personal and differentiates you from all the other organisations sticking to email. A well-designed campaign could excite younger audiences enough to support your cause.
Fundraising letters can be created to appeal to a wide variety of audiences, foster personal connections and build a supportive and engaged list of donors. Who wouldn’t want that?
What if fundraising letters are too expensive for my organization?
Here’s the real problem: budget. If you’re running a small organization with limited or stretched budgets, pitching a fundraising donation letter campaign can be tough. When placed beside the obviously quick, inexpensive and easily tracked option of email, making a case for fundraising appeal letters approaches the impossible. They’re more expensive (you have to pay for paper, design, printing and postage), time-consuming and can be difficult to track ROI.
While these concerns are legitimate, and some organizations may be better off not sending fundraising appeal letters – many dismiss the idea without giving it proper thought. This is what needs to change.
Mail campaigns continue to generate a significant portion of donations and ignoring the medium without exploring your options could cut you off from a great source of revenue. Follow these steps to make your fundraising letter campaigns work for you:
If you believe you don’t have the budget – start small. You don’t need to send fundraising letters to everyone. Compile a list of your biggest donors, or donors that have been donating consistently for the longest time (using a CRM or donor management software can make this really easy) and send one or both groups a letter. You can even think of a cut off donation amount and only send letters to donors who have given above this amount.
Experiment with fundraising letters – If you’ve never done this before, you might not want to invest a large amount in a fundraising appeal letter campaign. Set aside a budget for the campaign – once you know how much you can spend, select the number of donors accordingly. If the campaign is successful you can increase your budget and make fundraising letters a regular part of your organization’s fundraising efforts.
Develop a strategy for sending fundraising letters – There’s nothing more wasteful than a badly planned (or worse, unplanned) campaign. If your budget is tight make sure you spend enough time planning and developing your fundraising letter samples. Sending an ad hoc campaign at the last minute might not get you the results you expected and will end up falsely putting the blame on the medium rather than the campaign. If your budgets are tight, nothing saves time, money and resources like a robust strategy and plan.
By starting small, setting aside limited budgets and planning well in advance, you can still manage to build a decent revenue source from fundraising letters (and reach an audience that you hadn’t before!).
Are fundraising appeal letters a good fit for my nonprofit?
Fundraising letters are a good fit if:
- You’re looking to expand your donor base
- You need something different to engage your donors
- A large portion of your donors are over 50
- You have the time and resources (including staff) to strategically design and execute a campaign
Fundraising letters may not be a good fit if:
- Most of your donors give online
- You’re already running engagement campaigns that work well with your donor segments
- You have limited resources and no time to plan a separate campaign
- Most of your donors are under 50 and you can’t spend time cultivating more diverse donors right now
When should you send fundraising letters?
If there’s one thing to take away when it comes to sending fundraising letters, it’s this: don’t spam. Sending letters weekly or monthly, isn’t just cost-intensive, it’s also damaging to your relationship with donors. Constantly receiving fundraising donation letters from an organization will either annoy or make people ignore your appeals. A few letters, 3-4 times a year is all you need to send. If you also send donation updates or follow up thank-you letters to a few donors, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t send more than this. Sending fewer fundraising letters will make them special and therefore more likely to be opened and read.
You can send a fundraising letter during Christmas, Giving Tuesday or in the months between September – December. This is when people are primed to donate and you’re more likely to receive a positive response. You can also experiment with a few less popular holidays or days that are meaningful to your organization alone – for example, if you’re an environmental organization try sending a fundraising appeal letter on World Wildlife Day.
Tips on sending fundraising appeal letters
Make sure you have a strategy: We’re saying this again because it’s important – don’t send ad hoc or unplanned fundraising letters to your donors. It might still get great results, but planning helps you track your efforts, be consistent and understand what went wrong. Without a good plan, even if your campaign goes well, you won’t know what made it work!
Personalize, personalize, personalize: We can’t say this enough! Sending a personal donation letter appeal can really help boost your campaign. Personalizing your letters and including handwritten notes or a real signature (instead of a printed or stamped one), will make donors feel valued as important partners in your mission. Writing a handwritten note, at a time where everything is printed can be a special way to thank and acknowledge a donor’s valuable contribution.
Don’t over-design your email: Fundraising letters work best when they feel personal. Having extremely polished designs (including colour printed envelopes) can backfire by making your letter seem like junk. Instead, use plain paper and hand write the address if possible – if you still want to stand out, try using a non-standard envelope size or a differently coloured envelope. It’s simple, personal and will grab the receiver’s attention without seeming like junk
Be clear about what you want: your sample fundraising letter should include a clear ask and ideally be based on a donor’s past donations. Stating that you’d appreciate someone’s support leaves donors confused and unsure about what to do next. If they’ve reached the point where they’ve opened and read your fundraising letter, give them something to do! Be careful about including amounts that are too high or too low – if you’re using a donation management platform like Sumac Donations you can segment your donor lists according to donation amounts and include different asks for different donors. Besides money, you can also ask donors to follow you on social media or attend an upcoming fundraiser!
How to use these fundraising letter templates
These sample fundraising letters are a good starting point and will give you a clear picture of all the information that needs to be included in your fundraising letter. Copy these fundraising letter examples into your own document and change the information (and language) to suit your own organization’s voice and tone. Using these fundraising letter samples means you won’t miss out on any important information – but don’t forget to make it your own!
After writing your fundraising letter – send it to your design team and others in your organization for their feedback.
Fundraising letter templates that work:
We’ve written a few fundraising letter templates to get you started! Use the sidebar to navigate to the sample fundraising letter most relevant to your organization:
- Animal Rights Fundraising letter template
- Shelters fundraising letter example
- Wildlife Protection sample fundraising letter
- Children’s charities fundraising appeal letter
- Disease and disorder charities fundraising letter example
- Education fundraising letter sample
- Women’s charities fundraising appeal letter
- Fine Arts and Culture sample fundraising letter
- Food Bank fundraising letter example
- Health & Fitness Services fundraising letter template
- Hospital and Medical Centres fundraising letter template
- Medical research fundraising letter template
- Public and social service fundraising donation letter
- Humane Services fundraising letter sample
- International Charities fundraising letter template
Asking for donations has never been easier with these sample fundraising letter templates!