5 Tips For a Damn Good Donation Letter
1. Get personal
Address your letter specifically to the person in charge of corporate responsibility. Not sure who that is? It's always a good idea to find out. Look on the company website and find out who your direct contact is or, if you don't find it there, give them a call and ask. It's worth the extra effort if you want your donor's attention, This is your first impression - a make or break it opportunity.
2. Give them background/Present An Issue
"I am writing to request a $1,000 sponsorship...." Three words: Don't. Do. It.
Begin your letter with a compelling lead. Give the donor background on the problem at hand. You can provide statistics or tell a compelling story. For example:
- "According to the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau, there are 6,594 single-parent homes," or
- "When Unique Jones went to school on the morning of... she didn't expect to not go home at the end of the day."
3. How do you help?
This is where you insert your mission and vision. Let your donor know how your organization helps to address a persisting problem in the world or your community.
- "At [Your Organization], our mission is to [insert mission]."
4. How can they help?
Now that you've told your donor about an issue you're helping to address, insert them into the equation. How can they help? By giving, of course!
- "With a tax-deductible donation of $1,000, you can help more kids like Unique Jones..."
- "We invite you to support [Your Organization] as a $1,000 sponsor for our annual benefit dinner. Sponsors of $1,000 or more receive..."
5. Where do I sign up?
Give the donor specific instructions on how to give. If it's not spelled out, they're less likely to attempt to find out. Give them a simple, specific web address or include a donation form. However you do decide to take donations, make sure the process is communicated in detail. If there are sponsorship benefits, put together a sponsor package for them to refer to. Also, notice how I previously included $1,000 in the ask? If you give them a choice, your donor is very likely to choose the lowest amount. Making a specific ask is not required, but it's a good strategy. They'll either give you what you asked for or they'll give another amount, but it won't be too far below your initial ask.
The key to a good donation or sponsorship letter is to try to answer as many questions the donor may have as possible. Essentially these five key points will guide you in the process. Be sure to target your ask - businesses who have a pattern of giving to organizations with similar causes as yours will be more likely to fulfill your request. Many corporate businesses include information on their websites that give you an idea of what causes they support. As always, I am here to help you develop a strategy for your next request. Email me or submit a contact form for an initial consultation.