Eleven Top Tips – Contribution Letter

Our Tips: Catch the attention with a provocative opening. Example: I’m writing to offer you a job. It’s not a permanent job, you understand. It’s not a paying job. On the contrary, it will cost you money.

Use compelling individual stories. Emotional, compelling stories that speak to the need are essential. They take the message out of the realm of the abstract into the concrete.

Ask for the gift early and often. Ask for the gift and then repeat it later in the body of the letter.

Tell what the gift will accomplish to allow the donor to visualize being right there on site seeing what the gift will do.

Be personal and make sure the people writing the letter know the prospective donor.

Write with a sense of urgency but not despair. Everyone wants to be part of the winning team and not the sinking ship.

Highlight any volunteer aspects of the work.

Give your prospect “permission to believe.” Just because you ask does not always mean they donor’s believes you. You must make sure people feel that the organization is reputable and your past history will be looked at by some and that the gift will be used wisely.

Describe needs yet to be met.

Offer hope.

Show appreciation.

Want to learn more!! Read below to learn more about how to ask for a contribution the “Right Way!”

The golden rule in the development end of the business is to ask prospective donors often if you expect to receive a contribution. This is a rule that many nonprofits don’t want to talk about or follow. For this reason nonprofits often fail to get the larger gifts they deserve.

Too often, people cringe at the thought of asking someone for something, especially if that something happens to be money. The approach many nonprofits take is almost with a ” hat in hand” kind of mentality. However, asking for a contribution for your cause does not and should not make you feel like this.

Asking for a contribution has as much to do about understanding other people as about understanding yourself and what motivates you. When asking for a contribution at this level you must do so as an individual filled with passion for his cause, not as an administrator or development officer who is “just doing his job.”

I do not want to cause hard feelings among professional fundraisers, because without you, most universities and colleges as well as the nonprofit field in general would be in serious financial trouble.

However, I want to speak to you nonprofit professionals and ask you to search your souls to see if you have what it takes to be transparent and share with someone how you truly feel about the cause you lead.

Is the ” passion” and story of the cause you support one that comes out of a canned plastic speech that is given to a local civic group, or is it one that motivates you everyday you wake up to realize that you have the ability to change a life for the better?

While one cannot overstate the value of the “right person” asking for a contribution, it is just as important to know what his or her motivations are in asking. Nothing can replace the value of building relationships over time, perseverance, being sincere and having a passion for your cause.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice,
or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.