46+ Sample Donation Letters

What Is a Donation Letter and Why Is it Important?

Donations come in different forms. It can be in the form of monetary assistance, supplies, and even body organs and fluids. Donations generally vary according to the need. Non-profit and charitable organizations sometimes limit what they receive as donations because of the cause or movement that they uphold. An example is Doctors without Borders, which is an international humanitarian organization that focuses on providing medical care in conflict zones and areas with endemic diseases. 

As it is already an established organization, it is relatively easy for them to collect donations to fund their operations. But, for smaller-scale charitable organizations, donation letters are needed to extend the network and inform people of their advocacies. Besides, sending out letters is a formal way of introducing and asking for help in forms of donation to advocate collective action to achieve a common goal. The essence of donation letters is still relevant, despite the declining use of letters in everyday business transactions. Digital developments and advancements allowed easier dissemination of information through the internet. As a matter of fact, non-profit organizations took advantage of this platform to reach a wider audience. This development made online transactions for donations possible. People around the world can choose to support charity overseas. Consequently, the contents of a traditional donation letter are scattered all over the organization’s online platform; it serves a similar purpose as sales pitches to convince people to invest in a particular cause.

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Demand for Donation Letters

Donations are also called as gifts in kind. These gifts go beyond physical goods such as money and food. Volunteerism is also a donation of time and service. The needs of a charitable organization depend on the issue that they advocate. Thus the contents of the letter vary from one organization to another. The letter needs to be straightforward in presenting what it needs and how it can impact the cause that they are supporting.

Institute Fundraising Letters: Recent statistics provided that the majority of donors prefer to donate to their local church or place of worship, or an organization that champions accessible education for everyone. To sustain the outpour of donations, these organizations partner with corporations and philanthropists who share and support the same sentiments. Charities are also on a continuous lookout for other entities that can support them, and if they find potential partners, sending them a letter is the first formal step in reaching out to build a relationship. The letter bears and introduces the non-profit organization and its cause, the people it supports, and the methods they employ to support them. It is a common method among charitable organizations to start the letter with an anecdote of one of the people they support who got to live a better life because of the works of the organization.Individual Fundraising Letters: With the presence of online donation platforms, individuals can publish their accounts online and appeal to the people and ask for help in their respective projects. People who have projects or who need help in paying medical bills or whatnot can publish their stories online, which can serve as their versions of fundraising letters. On a more traditional note, before the advent of the internet, individuals who, say, for example, have new ideas for projects or marketable items but do not have enough finances market themselves and their products in a letter format and approach established companies to invest in them.Sponsorship Letters: This particular version of a donation letter is almost exclusively used by non-profit organizations to send out to organizations and corporations to ask for any support for a specific project. For example, a non-profit chooses to organize an eco bazaar that will only partner with businesses that are for the same cause. This non-profit needs to send out sponsorship letters to corporations to finalize the venue, freebies for the attendees, and the accommodation for the partners who flew over for the event. School fundraisers also require several sponsorships because the majority of the organizing committee does not have any means of generating income, other than from the event itself.

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What Motivates Giving?

Non-profit entities rely on the revenue’s surplus, thus, not disturbing the natural cycle of the market. It relies on donations and funding from billionaire philanthropists who made it their lives’ mission to give back a portion of their fortune to advocacies and causes. Up to date, Bill and Melinda Gates are the world’s most charitable people because of their donations to several causes that mainly uplift the general living condition of the people—mostly focusing on health, education, and income. Similarly, people nowadays are more charitable because of several factors. One main reason is altruism. They are giving for the sake of giving, without the thought of asking something in return. Although there are several rebuttals to the concept of perfect altruism, people choose to believe that they give because they genuinely want to. On a similar note, the feeling or the glow after donating is another reinforcing factor why people donate.

Another reason for donating to charities and foundations is because they treat the entity as an extension of their personal identity. People who donate to organizations that protect children in conflict areas choose to identify themselves as protectors of these children, as well. It works the same way for corporations too. Businesses who partner with organizations that protect children in conflict areas are seen to be guardians and protectors of these children too. In the eyes of the consumers, these corporations have a human touch and not overcome by the system of capitalism. And this is precisely the image that companies try to emulate to rake in more consumers. Modern consumers are beginning to be more careful about choosing companies to patronize. Aside from producing quality products and services, they are also more concerned with the concern of the corporation with present pressing societal and environmental issues.

Boost the Odds of Giving

American households are presently more charitable as compared to ten years before. People are more aware of issues around their locality and are on the lookout for organizations that carry similar advocacies. With this increase, more non-profits are on the lookout for more partners and donors. The best way to exponentially increase network is to figure out the most effective way of reaching out to a target. Determine their preferred means of acquiring information and take advantage of it. As of 2017, the majority of the population falls between the ages 15-64 years old. The considerable gap means that these people are shaped differently by culture and society.

Millennials: The Natives of the Digital Age

The millennials grew up with the developments of the internet. They were the first ones who needed little or no guidance to find their way and manipulate digital developments. These developments paved the way for global changes in terms of communication and business transactions. Modern business transactions and dealings are now through the internet. The development of online retail store applications is a result of the millennial population’s reliance on the internet to get things done. Similarly, almost everything is going online. Charities and non-profit entities entered online marketing. They developed apps and keep updated websites to reach out to this particular age group. As a result, digital versions of donation letters are also sent online to reach more audiences within a broader geographical scope.

Baby Boomers: Advocators of Print Media 

Baby boomers are identified as those who were born between the 1940s and 1960s. The term of the cohort was coined because of the significant increase in the population for the better quality and stability of living conditions. The second world war has ended, and the reparations were dedicated toward housing and education. And around this period, marketing and advertising reached its golden age. Advertising agencies developed methods to effectively reach out to their audience by utilizing different methods through different devices. At that time, print media was at its peak. Radio and television marketing was following suit. At present, these methods are still highly effective for reaching out to this target demographic. Their willingness to read the fine print about certain advocacy or to listen about it on television is higher than their willingness to follow steps and read through a website, which is something foreign to them. Remember to adjust to your audiences’ needs.

How Does One Create a Compelling Donation Letter?

In a study by DellaVigna, List, and Mallmendier came up with a conclusion that is, donating behavior has two possible reasons. One is that the person enjoys giving and supports the cause, thus motivated by altruism. On the other hand, giving is also subject to social pressure. As much as possible, we do not want to receive donations that are made out of stress and fear of public judgment. So, to eliminate or lessen the pressure, the donation letters should come out as neutral and natural as possible. Here are some steps on how to write a compelling donation letter without placing external pressure on the recipient.

Step 1: Create a Personal Connection

Donation letters are intended to support humanitarian needs and reasons. It appeals to people to help other people. A strong start to a donation letter is by addressing the recipient personally. Address the name, instead of using the position or a blanket statement. And to immediately hook in the readers to finish reading the letter and eventually donate something, it is best to create a personal and intimate connection. To tug the emotions of the readers. One standard way of starting a donation letter is a short recollection of a benefactor of the organization, on how the donations improved their way of life. Similar stories create an impression in the mind of the reader that their eventual donation can leave the same effect to another benefactor. Moreover, this opening makes the letter more memorable and can possibly come up in friendly conversations with friends, who can also be possible donors.

Step 2: Establish Credibility

After an interesting start, formally introduce the organization together with its mission and vision. Non-profit entities and charities thrive because of the reputation they build throughout the years. A non-profit’s status is based on its trustworthiness, openness, and track record. The public’s notion about them significantly affects the helping behavior of the people. So, you can showcase these factors at the beginning of your letter. For example, you can include a short story of why the organization started. You can also recount notable events in the past that your organization was actively a part of. It also helps if you mention the names of the heads of the organization and some note-worthy partners.

Step 3: Indicate the Specifics of the Request

The following details in line are the specifics of the request, which is the point of the donation letter. Stating the needs of the organization must be clear and straightforward. Also, make sure to create connections as to why there is a need for it to create a clearer picture for the recipient. An example is that if you are requesting specific monetary amounts, include a reason why. May it be because of a recent calamity that left the victims homeless and unemployed. Or it could be a request for volunteers who can help in repacking goods for calamity survivors. Indicating reasons increases the probability of donating because the donors have a clear picture as to where their donations will go.

Step 4: Explain the Impact of the Donation

Aside from including the reasons, as mentioned in the previous step, it is also crucial to include more feasible statements concerning the impact of the donation to the benefactors of the organization. At this point, it creates a more personal and direct connection. The impact singles out the effect of one donation to one benefactor. Knowing the immediate impact of the contribution increases the reinforces the act to donate or volunteer for the cause. Indicating this piece of information can be as simple as, “Your donation can immediately provide a food basket for a family this holiday season.” Similar statements to this one can assure the recipient of their donation’s purpose.

Step 5: Attach Additional Advertising Materials

After stating the purpose of the organization and of the letter, you can end the letter by stipulating the methods on how to donate. Include pieces of information regarding how to contact the organization, and the people to ask for. Also, do not forget to include if there are online methods of donating, especially concerning money. After that, you can end the letter on a high note by expressing immense gratitude. You can also choose to challenge the donor by inviting friends and family to donate for the same advocacy or other causes that are close to their hearts. Finally, attaching brochures and flyers are also essential to provide more in-depth information regarding the organization and their current practices.