What Is a Fundraising Letter? (With Templates and Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 10, 2022

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When an organization, group, or company requires additional funding to achieve a goal, a common way of gaining the money is to partake in fundraising. One key tool people use during fundraising is writing and sending letters which facilitate fundraising communication. Understanding how to write fundraising letters and how they work can help you create a communications plan that is effective in gaining contributions. In this article, we explain what a fundraising letter is and why they're important, review tips for sending them, and provide insightful templates and an example letter to help you write your own.

What is a fundraising letter?

A fundraising letter is an article of communication intended to gather the contribution of money, resources, or help for a particular cause. They may request a variety of different contributions from many people for a unified purpose. Some of the types of fundraising letters include:

  • in-kind donations

  • sponsorships

  • volunteer time

  • standard donations

  • auction items

Why are fundraising letters important?

Fundraising letters are important to the process of fundraising because they give fundraisers the opportunity to list their specific needs. They also offer an opportunity for contributors to get involved and establish a personal connection between the addressee and the cause. They can be powerful forms of messaging and if written well and planned, can motivate many individuals to contribute.

Related: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

Sending a fundraising letter

There is a variety of ways in which to write and send letters when fundraising. You can handwrite them, but if you're planning on sending out a larger number, it may be more efficient to use word processing software to type your letter instead. Once written, you can send fundraising letters physically via mail, or send them digitally using email.

Email has the advantage of convenience, while physical letters allow senders to contact their recipients in a way that is harder to ignore or forget about. Choosing the correct way to send your letter can have a profound effect on how effective your letters are. You can also use a combination of digital and physical letters, choosing the medium which suits particular recipients best.

Related: Letter of Intent: Definition, Examples, and Writing Tips

Templates for fundraising letters

Fundraising letters can be effective for requesting assistance for a variety of purposes. Here are a few examples of some of the main types of letters for fundraising:

Donation appeal

These are the most typical type of letters people send out for fundraising purposes and are a standard form of appeal when asking others to donate. Donation appeal letters are commonly around one page in length. Rarely is a donation appeal letter longer than two pages. They outline the needs of your organization and address what the recipient can do to help. It's also wise to thank the potential donor for any previous involvement they've had with the cause for which you're writing to them. Below is a template example of a donation appeal:

[Date]
[Your name]
[The organization's name]
[Organization's city and province]
[Your contact number]
[Your email address]

Dear [name of recipient],

[The first sentence is a brief introduction of yourself in relation to the cause. The second sentence introduces the cause more thoroughly. The third sentence briefly references the purpose of the message.]

[The next paragraph begins with the broader context of the issue. Describe the goals of the organization you work with/for in relation to the issue. Then, explain that the letter is to invite the recipient to donate money to the organization]

[Explain where the organization plans to spend the donated money, being as specific as possible. State the specific monetary goal the organization is trying to reach]

You can make your donation in any of the following ways:

  • Donate online [include donation portal URL]

  • Call us at [organization's phone number]

  • Send a cheque in the enclosed envelope

  • Text [keyword] to [phone number]

Thank you for your time and consideration. Your contribution makes a big difference!

Sincerely,
[Your signature]
[Your name typed]

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Auction items

Auctions are a common and effective form of fundraising. These events can be live, online, or silent auctions where organizations list items, experiences, or valuable offerings for bids to the public or a chosen group. For the organization to reserve the most money, it's best for it to spend as little as possible on attaining the items. This is why a common way for organizations to get their actionable goods is by inviting others to contribute them. These items are best to be highly desirable and rare.

Below is a template of how to write a letter requesting auction items for a fundraiser:

[Date]
[Your name]
[The organization's name]
[Organization's city and province]
[Your contact number]
[Your email address]

Dear [name of recipient],

[The first sentence introduces yourself in relation to the organization you work for. Next, introduce the cause that concerns the organization you work with/for. Then, briefly explain that the organization is hosting an auction to address the cause. Lastly in this paragraph, briefly explain that you're inviting the recipient to contribute an item to auction for the event]

[If you've hosted a fundraising auction before, you can mention it now and describe its success. List when and where the last auction was and how much money it raised]

[State how much money the auction is aiming to raise. Explain that to maximize contribution to the cause, the organization is seeking donations for actionable items. Invite the recipient to contribute something you can auction to the event]

Here are some guidelines for items for our auction:

  • Items must be new or in good condition

  • Market value must be more than [amount]

  • Items must relate to the theme of [theme of the auction]

Thank you for your time and generosity, your contribution makes a profound difference.

Sincerely,
[Your signature]
[Your name typed]

Sponsorship

Another common way for organizations to fundraise is by gaining corporate sponsors. Organizations can appeal to businesses to sponsor items such as collateral stock or funds in return for promotional featuring their brand. sponsorship differs from typical fundraising letters in that they offer a personal incentive for the recipient. This incentive is usually promotional. For instance, a sports drink company may sponsor a fundraising run by donating their beverage for free to the runners. In return, the sponsor gains public appeal and advertising through their contribution.

Gaining sponsors can mean that the organization that's fundraising can spend less on the event in question, meaning more funds can go to their cause. Events can have multiple sponsors to lower their costs for the entire event. Your request may persuade them to contribute to the event by highlighting how they can gain positive publicity at a relatively low cost to their business. Below is a template of a letter requesting sponsorships for a fundraiser:

[Date]
[Your name]
[The organization's name]
[Organization's city and province]
[Your contact number]
[Your email address]

Dear [name of recipient],

[The first sentence is a brief introduction of yourself in relation to the organization and the cause. The second sentence introduces the cause more in-depth and. The third sentence briefly references the purpose of the message, mentions the event, and invites them to be a sponsor]

[If you've hosted a fundraising event before, you can mention it now and state how much money you raised last time. List when and where the last fundraising event was and if you had any corporate sponsors.]

[State how much money the event is aiming to raise. Explain that to maximize your organization's contribution to the cause, you're seeking sponsors to contribute wherever they can. Invite the recipient to sponsor your event by contributing whatever they can to save the organization money. Be specific in your offer of advertising opportunities or incentives in return for their sponsorship]

Thank you for your time and consideration. Your contribution helps our cause greatly!

Sincerely,
[Your signature]
[Your name typed]

Example of a donation request fundraising letter

Below is an example of a letter requesting donations for a fundraiser:

October 11th, 2021
Jamie Stewart
The Bright Hope Collective
Toronto, Ontario
111-222-333-555
Jstew@email.com

Dear Marcus Gonzalez,

My name is Jamie Stewart, and I'm a senior member of The Bright Hope Collective. Our organization works hard to deliver homeless citizens of Toronto city from poverty through numerous fundraising activities. I'm writing to you today to appeal to your business, Jaxtone Manufacturing, to appeal for a donation to our cause.

Right now, there are approximately 8,700 people in Toronto experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to raise $5000 this year to donate to the Toronto City Mission to better enable them to assist these individuals. We would like to invite Jaxtone Manufacturing to contribute whatever it can to this cause. We would love to list Jaxtone as one of the city's generous donors on our website to thank your business.

You can make your donation in any of the following ways:

  • Donate online at www.brighthopecollective.internet

  • Call us at 111-222-333-555

  • Send a cheque in the enclosed envelope

  • Text "brighthope" to 333-555

Thank you for your time and consideration. Jaxtone Manufacturing's contribution makes a huge difference!

Sincerely,
J.Stewart
Jamie Stewart

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