How to Write a Great Direct Mail Fundraising Letter

10 Dec

Even great products don’t sell themselves. You’ve got to get out there and market the product you are selling in your fundraiser. An important part of that process is crafting a persuasive letter to introduce your fundraising campaign and the product you’re selling to raise funds. The product itself significantly colors your fundraising letter — you would probably take a quite different approach to your letter if you were selling raffle tickets for a cruise, for example, than if you were selling premium flavored popcorn.

Personalize Fundraising Letters

Most fundraising experts emphasize the importance of sending all personal correspondence to individuals by name. A personalized letter is much more likely to make the reader actually stop and consider making a purchase. An obvious form letter addressed to “Dear Supporter” may even get tossed in the trash without being opened.

Using Emotion

The best way to convince someone to buy something they don’t really need is to appeal to one or more emotions. Getting an emotional response from a reader makes it much more likely that they will buy the product. Someone who isn’t thinking emotionally is much more likely to say why should I buy an expensive fundraiser fruit basket when I can get almost as good fruit at the store for a third of the cost?

Your letter needs to make the reader feel like he or she is part of a bigger cause and is truly making the world a better place by their participation in your fundraiser. Everyone wants to think of themselves as generous, kind, and noble. So you want to play up that theme in your letter with something like: “I’m so glad we are lucky enough to have generous friends like you.”

Strong Attention-grabbing Intro

Another essential part of a truly effective direct mail fundraising letter is a powerful intro that grabs the attention of the reader and leads her into the critical pitch in the body of the letter. Depending on your organization, the product you’re selling and the tone of your letter, you might even consider starting the letter with a catchy headline followed by the greeting. You definitely need a strong first sentence to “hook” the reader: “Did you know that funding for music programs in Houston schools has been cut by 75% over the last five years? All of the profits from the sales of Popcorn Palace’s delicious gourmet popcorn in this fundraising campaign go directly to the music program at Beechlawn Middle School.”

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