Year-End Appeal Letter: Overview and Tips

Purpose

A year-end appeal letter can help to raise a large amount of money towards your annual budget or for special needs/circumstances.

Send to Whom?

Mail to everyone on your mailing list—current ministry partners and potential ministry partners.

Tips

-Write your "ask" paragraph before you tackle the letter. What one action do you want the reader to take? Avoid “easy” choices.

-Be forthright. People appreciate a candid, unapologetic “Will-you-help-us?” appeal.

-Limit your letter to the year-end appeal.

-Convey a sense of urgency. Why do you need the money? Why do you need it now?

-Illustrate—don’t explain. The donor wants to know how his gift will help accomplish something for the Kingdom. Use powerful verbs.

-Help people know what gift amount would best help. For example: “To reach our goal of $10,000, we’ll need gifts of $50, $75, $100 and even $500 and $1,000.” People tend to give what you ask for.

-Tell the reader how and when (include a specific date) to make a gift (usually in a P.S.).

-Sign all letters personally.

-Use a first-class stamp—not metered.

-Make customized versions of your letter for each audience type (ie current monthly partners, potential new partners, annual partners).  This may mean only changing a sentence or two, but it will help communicate your appreciation for current giving or make it clear you are asking for new giving.

What Not to Do

Don’t:

-Ask people to help you get “up to budget.”

-Ask people to help “erase your deficit.”

-List both the amount you’ve raised (percentage) and the dollar amount you still need.  Folks will do the math and see you have a big budget, not realizing there are four components to your budget.

-Talk about how bad the economy is.

-Ask for monthly support in a letter.

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