Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Writing a Fundraising Letter

As I write this, I am in the finishing stage of writing a new fundraising letter for our humanitarian arm. As all writers experience, it is very hard to write a letter, let alone a two-pager.

Starting the letter is the first hurdle. When I write, I need to have all the information at hand. If I ever need additional information that can only be given to me by somebody else, I usually ask another person to get it for me. Sometimes I do it myself. One of the tenets of writing these things are that you have to have your facts accurate. One cannot assume anything.

That is why it usually takes me the better part of the whole day to finish the letter. I take a lot of breaks, not only to clear my mind, but because it helps. When I take a break, I usually take a walk, sometimes not even a few meters away from my workstation and then I have to hurry back because something came to my mind.

You need to seize these opportunities when it comes. If you let if get away, who knows, it may have been something that could have gotten your response up. Who knows, right?

Writing is also something of an art. It is also part science. Part psychology. You need to know your audience well. You need to have a balance tone when you write. You need to convey excitement, fear, sadness, hapiness and ultimately, joy.

You should also have a clear goal when writing. Is it to inform? To provide updates? To ask for money? You need to provide specific action points to the reader. You cannot allow your reader to feel that they were not able to do anything.

You can't make them feel useless or that you have done all the work and they should send money so you can be compensated. No! Whatever your project is, its a collaborative project. You need to make them feel involved. Make them feel that they made a contribution

God bless you and see you again tomorrow!

P.S. I just read that if ever you make typo errors, they sometimes increase response rates. Its not a guarantee but it shows that the letter was done by a person and not by a professional computer.

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