Funding Letter Tips
Avoid the “D-word” In Year-end Appeal Letters

If you face a deficit in your account or a significant monthly shortfall in income, it’s tempting to send a “silver-bullet letter” at year’s end hoping for a quick solution.  Such letters often tout these words and phrases:

In the red…Deficit…Budget shortfall…Will have to step out of ministry to raise money.

While this tone probably reflects the anxiety and urgency you feel, Scott Morton, author of Biblically Funding Your Ministry and International Funding Coach for The Navigators, explains why not to use “deficit” language in appeal letters.

“Deficit” implies we did not do well in the past and now we have to catch up.  Ministry partners would rather give to future things than catch up.

Twenty years ago, “deficit” was an effective motivator.  Donors responded to it.  But, times have changed, and people don’t respond well to it any more.  Or they respond to “deficit” once or twice…and then begin to wonder.

Instead, invitations such as “Will you help us prepare for 2014 so we can enter the year fully funded and ready to do all God has called us to?” excite ministry partners and help them feel part of something significant.  It’s a much better approach.  It’s motivating and positive!

Year-end appeal letters are one part of an effective funding plan.  The MPD team encourages staff to send them.  In December 2012, total gift income to The Navigators was three million dollars higher than other months, and January 2013’s total gift income was two million dollar higher.  People give at this time of year, so invite them to give to your ministry!

But letters alone won’t solve a funding problem.  They’re not a “silver bullet.”  The average response to an appeal letter is 7-10%.  But they definitely boost overall funding.

The best approach for solid funding is to hold face-to-face appointments (which have a 50% “yes” rate), communicate with giving friends regularly throughout the year, and send one-two funding appeal letters annually.  Letters do help.

And it’s not too late to prepare a year-end letter.  View samples and tips on the MPD website, and if you’d like some help with your letter, email it to me at molly.gilberts@navigators.org.  I’ll be glad to offer some kind, helpful feedback.  Plan to mail by December 10.  And for best results, send a reminder email 10 days after your letter arrives inviting people to give.  Include the link to online giving.  Or even better, call a few friends to invite them personally.

Blessings on your year-end efforts!

Contact Molly via email at molly.gilberts@navigators.org. liquam. In vitae risus purus.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

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