Papa’s Got A Brand-New Donation Letter

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Writing More Effective Donation Requests

How do I go about writing a letter asking for donations for a 501(c)(3) PTO? I have always written requests in my own way. I feel more like there is probably a better way to go about it. What kind of format do I use?

Lauren K., Madison, WI 

Donation request letters are a make-or-break quest for the outcome of nonprofit events. There are literally unlimited ways to write a request letter, some better than others. Remember, the solicitation letter is, a lot of times, the first contact you are making with a donor. Put your best foot forward. I personally like to use the following structure, content, and tips when editing letters for Ultimate Donation users. Each main bullet point is usually a paragraph. As always with request letters, use your organization’s letterhead.

  • The Greeting:
    • Personalize, whenever possible, with the contact person’s name.
    • Introduce: 
      • Your organization: 
        • Briefly summarize your organization’s mission. 
      • Your event: 
        • What is the official title/name? 
        • At what Date/Time? 
    • What specific donation are you looking for? 
  • The Event: 
    • Where will the event be held? 
    • In a sentence, what will occur? 
    • How many attendees? 
    • What are the demographics of attendees? 
  • The Personal Story: 
    • Give an example of how a past event went. 
      • What did you raise? 
      • What were you able to do? 
    • A personal connection with the donor is what you are after! 
  • The Benefit to the Donor: 
    • Are you’re a 501(c)(3), or similar? Mention that donations are tax-deductible. 
    • Will the donor be recognized with banner ads, mention on the radio, name in email blast, ad in the event program, etc. 
    • Is this a local event, state wide, or larger? 
    • Sell the donor on the donation! 
  • The Wrap Up: 
    • Reiterate, in a different way, why this donation is important. 
    • Thank the donor for their consideration. 
  • The Salutation: 
    • Include your contact information. 

The main take-a-ways are to keep it short, stick to the specifics, let the donor know exactly what you are looking for, spell out the benefits the donor will receive for a donation, and, arguably most important, make the letter personal. Being up front and honest is how you build trust. Writing a well thought out and engaging letter takes practice, but you will be getting plenty of that doing requests for even one event 😉. 

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Donor Gurus at UltimateDonations.org
Ultimate Donations streamlines the often convoluted task of planning fundraisers and charity events by guiding you to discover donors more rapidly and effectively. If you have requested donations previously, you might be all to familiar with how tiring and time-consuming examining potential donors can be. Ultimate Donations has done a significant part of the research into who is most likely to donate to your organization. If you want a particular donation, we have the data on what is available.