Fundraising Letter Templates
Writing impactful fundraising letters can be hard. That’s why we created these templates, along with examples for every sector!
Scroll down to take a look at our fundraising letter examples, templates, and donation forms. You can tailor these example fundraising letters to your own fundraising campaigns.
For additional help with your nonprofit fundraising, check out: How To Write The Perfect Fundraising Letter (With Templates)
Many nonprofit organizations have given up on the idea of sending appeal letters, believing that direct mail fundraising campaigns are expensive. But this is far from true!
A recent Direct Marketing Association study noted the average response rates of direct mail campaigns is at 4.4%. That’s 37 times higher than the average email marketing rate of 0.12%.
While asking for sponsorships via donation letters is definitely more expensive than email, the trick is to do this strategically. Develop a fundraising goal, segment potential sponsors, and send donation request letters to a targeted group that are likely to give.
Do that and watch the donations roll in!
We wanted to help by providing sample fundraising letter templates, and donation request letters for every nonprofit organization. We’ve got example fundraising letters from animal shelters and education to gift fundraising, so you can get a head start drafting your own.
Why write nonprofit fundraising letters?
Consider the fact that 34% of the population in the US is over 50. Most people in this age group prefer receiving donation request letters over email — in fact, many don’t even have an email account!
By neglecting to write donation request letters — you’re leaving out a large segment of potential donors. A segment that’s more likely to give major gifts, make larger contributions, and help you meet your organization’s financial needs.
To build a sustainable nonprofit organization, it’s important to have diverse sources of funding. Fundraising appeal letters can help you reach out to community members that don’t visit donation pages or respond to online fundraising appeals.
Your donation letter templates don’t always have to be for older community members — sending general donation letters to a younger audience has a personal appeal and differentiates you from other nonprofits sticking to online fundraising.
A well-designed direct mail campaign could excite younger audiences enough to support your cause.
Donation request letters can appeal to a wide variety of audiences, foster personal connections, and build a supportive and engaged list of potential donors.
Who wouldn’t want that?
What if creating fundraising template letters are too expensive for my organization?
Here’s the real problem: the budget.
If you’re running a small nonprofit organization with limited or stretched budgets, pitching a donation request letter campaign can be tough.
When placed alongside the obviously quick, inexpensive and easily tracked option of online fundraising, making a case for fundraising appeal letters or direct mail sponsorship requests approaches the impossible. Pricing can be quite high (you have to pay for paper, design, printing and outreach), time-consuming, and can be difficult to track ROI.
These concerns are legitimate – some nonprofits may be better off focusing on online donations and leaving out fundraising appeal letters. But many dismiss the idea without giving it proper thought. This needs to change.
Direct mail campaigns continue to generate a significant part of donations. Dismissing the medium in your fundraising strategy could cut you off from a great source of revenue.
Follow these steps to make your campaigns work for you:
If you believe you don’t have the budget — start small. You don’t need to send donation request letters to everyone. If this is a first-time campaign, compile a list of your biggest donors, or donors that have been giving regularly for a long time.(A CRM or donor management software can make this easy!) Send one or both groups a sponsorship letter. You can even set a cut-off donation amount and send letters to donors who have given above this amount.
Experiment with donation request letters — If you’ve never done this before, you might not want to invest a large amount in a fundraising appeal letter campaign. Create a pricing plan for the campaign – and select the number of donors based on this. If your fundraising campaign is successful, you can increase your budget and make letters a regular part of your organization’s fundraising efforts.
Develop a fundraising strategy for sending direct mail – There’s nothing more wasteful than a badly planned (or worse, unplanned) campaign. If pricing is high, make sure you spend enough time planning and developing your templates so you spend wisely. Sending an ad hoc campaign at the last minute might not get you the results you expected, and you might 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 fundraising 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 sponsorship letters (and reach potential donors that you hadn’t before!).
How do I know if fundraising appeal letters are a good fit for my nonprofit?
Write fundraising letters if:
- You’re looking to expand your donor base
- You need more fundraising ideas to engage your donors
- Many your donors are over 50 years old
- You have the time and resources (including staff) to strategically design and execute a campaign
They may not be a good fit if:
- Most of your donors use online fundraising
- You’re already receiving significant amounts from other fundraising events (like corporate donations or matching gift campaigns)
- You have limited resources and no time to plan a separate campaign because of upcoming events
- Most of your donors are under 50 and you don’t have the time to develop a fundraising strategy to cultivate more diverse donors
When should you send donation request letters?
If there’s one thing to take away When it comes to sending sponsorship letters, it’s this: don’t spam potential donors with all of your fundraising initiatives.
Sending letters weekly or monthly isn’t just cost-intensive — it’s also damaging to your donor relationships. Constantly receiving fundraising donation letters from an organization will either annoy people or make them ignore your initiatives.
Instead, think strategically about when you want to send letters — and don’t send them more than 3–4 times a year. For example, you can send letters to announce important fundraising events like calls for in-kind donations, end of the year campaigns or any important fundraising efforts that’ll grab a reader’s attention.
You can also send donation updates or follow up thank-you letters to a few donors, but avoid anything more than this.
Sending fewer sponsorship letters with a strong call to action will make sure people read them.
You can work on developing example fundraising letters and templates earlier in the year, but send them during Christmas, Giving Tuesday or at the end of the year (between September–December). This is when local businesses and family members 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.
The best fundraising letters are planned strategically for select gift programs or annual funds, sent to a few potential donors and don’t spam the audience.
Tips on sending fundraising appeal letters
Make sure you have a fundraising strategy: We’re saying this again because it’s important — don’t create fundraising template letters to send at random times. You may still get great results, but planning helps you track your fundraising 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. Instead of generic salutations like ‘Dear friend,’ personalize your letters with a written salutation that includes your donor’s name. Don’t just include your organization’s name at the end — use a real signature (instead of a printed or stamped one). This will make potential donors feel valued as important partners in your mission. Creating a fundraising template letter with a handwritten note, at a time when everything is printed is a special way to thank and acknowledge a donor’s valuable contribution.
Don’t over-design your email: Extremely polished designs (including color-printed envelopes) can backfire by making your letter seem like junk mail. 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 colored envelope and make sure you include your organization’s name. It’s simple, personal, and will grab the reader’s attention without seeming like junk mail.
Be clear about what you want: your sample fundraising letter should include a clear call to action and ideally be based on donations made in the last year. Pulling at a donor’s heartstrings and then asking for vague support leaves donors confused and unsure about what to do next. If they’ve reached the point where they’ve opened and read your donation request 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 for in-kind donations, auction items, local business sponsorships, social media follows or invite them to attend upcoming events! Whatever you choose, make sure your ask is something that’ll meet your organization’s needs.
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 to include. Copy these example fundraising letter templates into your own document and change the information (and language) to suit your own organization’s needs.
Using these example fundraising letters means you won’t miss out on any important information (like proper salutations, phone numbers, and important donation details) – but don’t forget to make it your own! Remember, different types of fundraising letters will have different calls to action. A school fundraising letter will use a different tone from a church fundraising letter or a sponsorship request for a mission trip.
After writing your example of a fundraising letter – send it to your design team and others in your organization for their feedback. If you want to create effective fundraising letters, you’ll want to get as much feedback as possible to make it perfect.
Fundraising letter templates that work:
We’ve written a few types of fundraising letters to get you started!
You can navigate to the sample fundraising letter most relevant to your organization’s needs by clicking on the tabs to your right.
- Animal Rights donation request letter
- Shelters fundraising template letter
- Wildlife Protection sample fundraising letter
- Children’s charities fundraising template letter
- Disease and disorder charities fundraising letter example
- Education letter sample
- Women’s charities fundraising appeal letter
- Fine Arts and Culture sample letter
- Food Bank fundraising letter example
- Health & Fitness Services fundraising letter template
- Hospital and Medical Centres letter template
- Medical research fundraising letter template
- Public and social service fundraising donation letter
- Humane Services example fundraising letter
- International Charities fundraising letter template
Asking for donations has never been easier with these sample fundraising letter templates! Feel free to customize them for your own organization’s needs.