By Guest Writer Ryan Pell,
What inspires people to donate their money or other things to a cause of a complete and total stranger? How can one determine if the cause is indeed worth donating?
The answers to these questions are given in a fundraising appeal, which is one of the most difficult parts of charity communicators and non-profit organizations. Writing an unappealing letter ensures that all effort will be a waste of time, so getting this important document right is a must.
In this article, we’re going to offer you a number of tips to write an excellent nonprofit fundraising appeal that you can use to get impressive results.
Tip #1: Understand Your Target Audience
Don’t even think about writing a fundraising appeal without knowing who you’re addressing. If you ignore this requirement, chances are your letter will be ignored because it may not meet the needs of the readers.
So ask yourself questions like “Who are the people who will be reading this fundraising appeal?” “What do they want?” “What communication channels do they prefer?” and so on. Some nonprofits even create audience personas.
Tip #2: “Hook” the Audience’s Attention from the First Sentence
One of the most important goals of any writer is to grab the readers’ attention from the start. In academic writing, for example, the first sentence of an essay is often called the “hook,” because it engages the reader and motivates to read the whole text.
Students who neglect this rule often fail to capture the attention of readers, so they seek help to improve their skills in attractive writing.
Remember this technique when writing your fundraising appeal. You have only several seconds to convince people that they should read the whole thing, so you need to be as thorough as possible.
For example, compare these two first sentences:
Hello, my name is Mark, I’m writing this letter from a charity called Seniors Need Help.
Sometimes, a 75-year-old Ben doesn’t see anyone for weeks, because he has no one to help him.
What sentence grabbed your attention? Right, the second one. Write your “hook” sentence in a similar style and make the readers want to read more to find out the real reason why you wrote that letter.
Tip #3: Write in Conversational Tone
“A fundraising appeal is a letter, not a research paper that needs to follow strict requirements of academic style. Use “you,” “I,” and “we.” – says Rebecca W. Occhipinti, Marketing Specialist at Axonim. She continues: “These words help the reader connect with you on a personal level and help them feel like you are on friendly terms. “
On the other hand, a text written in a formal style may be perceived as too difficult to read. And another thing: be aware of slang! Don’t use words people may not understand.
Go with a conversational tone.
Tip #4: Create a Sense of Urgency
This is a common technique applied in areas such as marketing for customer attraction. Indeed, messages that contain phrases such as “last chance to donate…” or “our animal shelter needs help asap!” are more effective because they ask for a quick action.
Some nonprofits take it a step further and encourage urgency with a gift. For example, donors could be asked to donate in the next 24 hours and receive something in return, such as a free t-shirt, a cup of coffee, or a gift card.
Tip #5: Tell a Story
Storytelling is another popular technique in writing that emphasizes the importance of focusing on a particular story to convey a message. You can also use it to improve the quality of your fundraising appeal.
For example, you may have a lot of stories to tell in the letter (all the kids you’ve supported or all the animals you helped), but it’s better to focus on one story. For example, focus on one kid – what is her or his name? Why do people need to support him or her? Why do they need to support him or her right now?
Tip #6: Include Call to Action
Always include this critical part by providing the readers with specific asks at the end of the appeal (here are examples of effective calls to actions). In most cases, it’s a call to donate money. If this is the main purpose of your letter as well, offer clear instructions on how to do that.
It’s Your Turn Now
Writing an excellent nonprofit fundraising appeal may be a bit challenging. However, you will make it a lot easier if you follow these tips.
Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a content strategist, you can check his website here. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.
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