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How to Write a Letter Asking for Donations

How to Write a Letter Asking for Donations

Writing a letter asking for donations is something that should be done by someone who knows the importance of the effectiveness of a well written letter. In this article, we'll give you some tips on how you can write a good letter.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Whether you are a small non-profit organization or a fairly big one, you know that a major source of funding is from the donations that you receive. So, it is important to build and maintain a healthy relationship with your regular, and prospective donors. The right communication is the only way of doing this. While writing a letter asking for a donation, make sure that you take care of all the little intricacies involved in it so as to create a perfect impression. They have been explained below. Have a look and keep them in mind the next time you write a letter.

Stationery
The first thing that will hit the eye of your prospective donor is the kind of paper that you have used for your letter, whether it is hand written or printed, and other such physical aspects. A general rule of thumb, for any kind of business letter is to use excellent quality stationery. Just because you require a donation does not mean that you need to portray yourself as a poor organization. Use smart stationery, and always print your letter. It creates a more professional image. Never send a letter that does not bear the letterhead or a stamp of your organization. Next, see to it that the envelope you use is also a crisp white one and is properly addressed. Do not fold and refold your letter many times. Two simple folds to fit into an envelope are enough.

Content
Now comes the major portion. Given below is a list of absolutely important things that should be included in the letter.

Salutation : Make sure your letter begins and ends with the appropriate salutation. For this, you need to know whom exactly you need to address the letter to. Not only if it's a man or a woman, but also, what his or her name and designation within the organization is and whether he or she is indeed the appropriate person to be contacted for the purpose of a donation.

Background Information : The next thing that the reader should find is some information about your organization and what it does. You don't have to give its entire history, but make sure you mention how old your organization is, what are its area/s of work, what are the various activities it conducts, etc. The first paragraph of your letter should contain this information. If you're writing to an organization or person who has already donated to your organization in the past, then first thank them for their previous donation/s, tell them how your organization benefited from their donation and then proceed with the request for another one.

Intention : After you have introduced your organization to the person, you can proceed with the request for a donation. Tell the person exactly what you need: a monetary donation or a donation in the form of other things like electronic items, clothes, food, etc. If you are asking for a monetary donation, then be sure to tell them what your organization intends to do with the money. You can tell them about the tax benefits that they will receive by making a monetary donation. If you do not want to mention a specific amount (though this is preferred by donors), you can state an 'in-between' amount like 'anything between $1000 - $5000 will be much appreciated'. This way the donor does not feel compelled to donate a specific amount and it gives him the liberty to choose how much he wants to donate. Highlight how their contribution will help make another person's life better and how by donating, they will be fulfilling their corporate responsibility towards society.

Mailing Address : Once you have stated the requirement and the request for the donation, thank the person for taking the time to read the letter and once again, state that you hope he makes a donation. Then, mention the address to which the checks can be sent, along with the name of the organization on which the check needs to be drawn.

Language
As far as the language is concerned, use a professional and formal business tone. You can thank them for previous donations, but you don't have to go over the top doing it. You are simply requesting them to consider making a donation. Don't make it out to be like you're begging or pleading. It is not only unprofessional, but also below the dignity of the noble work that you are doing. So keep it simple, avoid flowery language, and don't glorify yourself or the potential donor. Last but not the least, get your letter proofread by at least two people, to avoid wrong names, spelling mistakes and other such small, but important errors.

Sample

To,
(name and designation of addressee)
(address of addressee)

Dear Mr./Ms.(name of addressee),
I'm writing on behalf of (name of organization), a non-profit organization that works for the health and betterment of living conditions of homeless people in and around (area of operation). With this letter I hope to convince you to make a donation to our organization, and thus join the hundreds who already help us in our work.

But first I would like to introduce our organization to you. We are a mid-sized organization that works at the grass root level to make the basic and necessary medical assistance available to the homeless. We strive to provide them with clothes, food and shelter as and when we can. Generous donations by people and organizations such as yours are what help us in our endeavor to give the homeless a chance at a better life.

We hope to raise money this year to help homeless children get an education. We would appreciate if you could donate an amount between (mention amount) or offer to sponsor the education of two children at (mention name of school). Any of the two options will be much appreciated and will help the children have a bright future.

You can address checks to the address mentioned below, and contact me on the number given for any more information that you may require. Thank you for taking the time out to read this letter and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
(your name)
(designation at the organization)
(address of the organization)
(contact number)

The key to writing a good letter asking for a donation is to know how to handle which potential donor. A little checking around on the organization that you are considering could help you better understand whether they will donate, and if yes, how much approximately or what kind of donation you can expect from them. Also, make sure that you get the names and designations of the addressee perfectly right. It is a small detail, but if ignored could result in your organization not receiving the donation. So use these pointers and draft a good letter and watch as the donations pour in.