annual fund

Best Ideas: Year End Appeal

direct-mail-is-still-an-effective-way-to-reach-baby-boomers1It is that time of year again when our email and snail mail boxes fill up for requests for funds to support our favorite causes… or even causes we have never heard of!

What makes a letter compelling?

There are a couple qualifiers before I get into the technical aspects that make a letter successful.

Qualifier #1: You are familiar the charity and hopefully the person who has signed the letter.

Qualifier #2: You are likely to (if you don’t already) support it.

What makes a letter stand out from the pile:

  • An interesting and colorful design on the envelope
  • A personal story and photos on the letter
  • Letter signed by a volunteer (vs. staff) – especially a volunteer you personally know
  • Stating a specific fundraising goal
  • Making a specific ask
  • A challenge/match gift (doubling anyone’s donation)
  • Bold sentences with key messaging (because people skim and do not read) or utilizing a “P.S.” to make a special point
  • List contact information – especially a website for online donations

Here are two great examples of Year End Letters with my notes highlighting the key elements that make the letter successful.


First, the San Diego Women’s Foundation:

SDWF 2017 Annual Appeal - Members with Renee's Notes_Page_1SDWF 2017 Annual Appeal - Members with Renee's Notes_Page_2

Second, Employee & Community Options:

E&CO Letter with RF notes_Page_1E&CO Letter with RF notes_Page_2

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