There’s nothing better than opening the mailbox to find a beautifully written letter personally addressed to you. About your passions. Your interests. And how you can help make the world a better place.
But how do you communicate those same things to your church members in just one, concise letter?
We’ve got some concrete tips for crafting the best letters possible, right here in this article.
To skip ahead to a particular tip, click on the corresponding link:
THE BODY OF THE LETTER
#1. Make it about your members. The more “you’s” the better!
Have you ever entered into a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves? It can be really frustrating–and difficult to get a word in edgewise.
The worst thing you can do when writing a fundraising letter to a church member is to make it all about yourself and only address the reader when you ask for money.
Pro tip: The more “you’s” you use earlier on in the letter, the more likely the reader is to keep reading.
Make your readers feel involved and like they can be an integral part of your church’s mission.
#2. Start with the P.S.
You may be thinking, “That seems awfully silly! Why would we start writing a letter with the post-script in mind?”
Truth be told, most writers don’t even include a P.S. in their letters!
And why should they?
Great question.Decades of eye-motion studies have shown that the first two things a donor looks at in a fundraising letter are:
- Their own name.
- The P.S. line.
In. That. Order.
What does this mean for your letter writing campaign?
It means that you need to get really great at writing compelling post-script notes. Sum up your plans, the ask, the deadline, and your call-to-action in 3 sentences or fewer.
#3. Invest in your envelopes.
Believe it or not, your envelope says a lot about you.
Envelopes are the first thing your letter recipients will see.
With that in mind, doesn’t it make sense to invest in them?
No, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on your envelopes.
The key is to be creative!
You can dress your envelopes up to stand out, or you can keep them nice and simple to appeal to everyone.
#4. Make it easy-to-read.
It may seem counterintuitive to use a bigger font when writing a one-page letter. But keep in mind that the majority of fundraising letter readers are older and therefore have a harder time reading size 10 font.Size 12 fonts and up are usually the most effective.
Colorful text is also hard to read. Different colors may be pretty, but classic black font will preach your message loud and clear.
Another tip for readability is to use serif fonts.
Serif fonts are ones with the little doodads on the ends of the letters. Times New Roman is a great example of a serif font. It’s actually the most readable font out there, which is why it’s the default for most word processors.
It can be easy to assume that a “well-written” letter means that it would muster up to your 11th grade English teacher’s standards.
That’s not necessarily the case, however. Some of the most effective fundraising letters have fragments in them.
Some great letters have paragraphs that are just one sentence.
You can feel free to bend grammatical rules as long as you’re getting your point across, and your letter is enjoyable to read.
#6. Include a return envelope (with a stamp!).
Sending a letter without providing an easy way to respond is a waste.
In this digital age, most people don’t have extra envelopes and stamps lying around.
Help them help you!
When you send your fundraising letters, be sure to include a way for your recipients to respond.
Self-addressing your return envelopes will make the process even easier. As will including a stamp. It may cost your church a few extra cents, but it will pay off in the end when your recipients become donors.
Some call this a “SASE.” A self-addressed, stamped envelope. Make sure you give your members a SASE!
#7. Provide a link to your online donation page.
Imagine you’ve done everything right:
- You made your letter all about your recipients.
- You crafted the perfect P.S.
- You chose an eye-catching envelope.
- You made your letter super easy to read.
- You took a conversational tone in your letter.
- You even remembered to include a return envelope (self-addressed and all)!
But you still received nothing in return.
How can you avoid this scenario?
It’s simple: include a link to your online donation page.
This will ensure that your donors who don’t want to send a check in the mail still have a way to give.
You can also include information about your text-to-give campaign. Or add a QR code that leads to your church’s donation page when it’s scanned.
#8. Always say, “Thanks.”
This might go without saying, but you should always say, “Thank you.”
Regardless of whether or not they donate, they’ve taken time out of their day to read your words.
Thank them for their time.
Thank them for their consideration.
Thank them for supporting your church.
Thank them more than once.
You can never thank them enough.
Saying thank you is a guaranteed way to make someone’s day.
If you follow all of these tips, you’re well on your way to getting started with a very successful letter writing campaign.
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