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This document is a formal letter used by charities and donation organizations in order to request that people donate to their cause.

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Sample Donation Request Letter

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What is a donation request letter?

This document is a formal letter used by charities and donation organizations in order to request that people donate to their cause. Donation letters are an important part of any charity seeking funding for a certain cause or fundraising for charitable events. Donation request letters allow organizations to reach a wide range of people all across the world.

Donation request letters should always be written in a friendly, professional, and easy-to-read manner. This will ensure the letter reaches a wide audience. Each letter should detail what your organization does and what it will do with the donations it receives. This ensures your potential donors know where their money is going at all times. These simple aspects can help boost the amount of money your organization receives through charitable donations.

When should you use a donation request letter?

You can use a donation request letter at any time; however, they tend to be particularly effective toward the end of the calendar year.  At the end of the year, your donors will tend to be more generous because it is the holiday season. Additionally, your donors may want to increase their charitable giving as it nears time to do their taxes.

Donation request letters are generally well-received by older donors.  Millennials tend to respond better to digital donation requests, but older generations prefer to receive donation requests via mail.

Common Scenarios

Donation request letters are commonly used for:

  • Individual fundraising - Use an individual fundraising letter to raise money for a cause or project that means a lot to you.  Individuals who are fundraising for personal causes often choose to raise money online through a crowdfunding campaign and social media.  An individual fundraising letter could direct recipients to your online fundraising page to give them an easy way to make a donation.
  • Church fundraising - Church fundraising letters can be used for general church-related contributions, but they can be used for specific fundraising efforts.
    • Charity auction item requests
    • Fundraising event donations
    • Mission trip fundraising
    • Missionary support
    • Sponsorship requests
  • Matching gift fundraising emails or letters - Nonprofits can use letters to remind their donors that their charitable contributions may be doubled or tripled by their companies.  The best time to promote matching gifts is in a follow-up letter right after a donation has been made. The letter thanks the donor for the donation and encourages them to submit a matching gift request.
  • Sponsorship letters - A sponsorship request letter is used to solicit donations for a specific project or event from a company or business owner.  A corporate donation request letter usually explains the fundraising needs of the organization and offers different levels of sponsorship. Each level of sponsorship comes with different perks.
  • Volunteer time request - Sometimes organizations need individuals to volunteer their time.  A donation letter that seeks people to volunteer their time will explain the work that needs to be done, how that work will support the organization, and how the work will be beneficial to society as a whole.

Why is a donation letter important?

A donation letter is important because it is a great way to gain assistance and support for your causes.  Many people are willing to support charitable causes, but you need to connect with them to let them know about the situation and how they can help.

Best practices

To write the most effective donation letters, you should:

  • Personalize the letter -  Address the person by name instead of saying “Dear Friend,” or “Dear Supporter.”
  • Elaborate About the Benefits - Benefits can be both intangible and tangible.  Intangible benefits include things like when a donor donates money to stop hunger and it makes them happy.  A tangible benefit could be when you send the donor a gift certificate as a thank you for the donation.
  • Ask for Donation - Make a clear request for a donation.  Provide an easy way for the donor to make a contribution, such as providing a reply envelope or a website and phone number to make contributions online and over the phone.  Give details on how to make in-kind donations.
  • Cause Urgency - Write a letter that conveys a sense of urgency so that the donor is inclined to donate right away.
  • Revise and Edit - Make sure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.  Proofread to make sure that everyone will understand what you have to say.

Before Writing

Before you begin writing your letter, you should keep the following things in mind:

  • Know your target audience - Who are you writing to?  This should affect how you format the letter and the words that you use.
  • Get the attention of the reader - Make sure that you include something that will make your letter stand out.  Include some facts or statistics that will keep the reader’s attention. Tell success stories. Make an emotional appeal.
  • Be specific - Donors may not read the entire letter.  Be specific in your ask.
  • Do not mention the donation amount - If you specify an amount, you might turn off some donors who are unable to donate that amount or limit yourself if the donor had been willing to donate more than you asked for.

Download a PDF or Word Template

Donation Request Letter

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