[INFOGRAPHIC] How To Write An Annual Fundraising Appeal Letter

Writing an annual fundraising appeal letter can be a daunting task, especially considering the cost in time and resources to produce and the potential impact on your fundraising goals. Follow these tips from Tom Ahern to ensure that your letter is as effective (and fun to create!) as possible:

How To Write An Annual Fundraising Appeal Letter

Download a printable .pdf version here.

If your letter is a meant to create a new donor, remember to answer these questions about your organization:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you want?
  3. Why should I trust you?
  4. Why do you matter?
  5. How do you relate to me?
  6. What’s the rush?

If your letter is being sent to an existing supporter, remember to answer these questions:

  1. Who did you do with my prior gift?
  2. Are you grateful?
  3. What do you want now?
  4. Do you have proof?
  5. Again: Who are you?
  6. What’s the rush?

Don’t forget personalization, your SMIT (single most important thing) and multiple asks!

Need help? Download this free thank you letter template!

Get a free demo of the Bloomerang software.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. She also serves as the Director of Communications for PRSA’s Hoosier chapter.
Kristen Hay
By |2020-08-02T08:13:36-04:00July 17th, 2013|Donor Communications|


  1. Hannah August 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Liked the infographic, couldn’t get it to print at normal size. any suggestions?

  2. Lee September 18, 2013 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    This is probably one of the best, if not THE BEST, infographics I have ever seen. Thank you for putting it together.

    I do have one concern though. Should we be suggesting people mail their credit card information? I would think this would be an issue with PCI-DSS and identity theft. Wouldn’t it be better to use a QR code or URL where the donor can initiate a payment?

    • Steven Shattuck
      Steven Shattuck September 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Lee! We think an online donation form is the best way to go these days. 🙂

  3. Carmen December 11, 2013 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I was wondering if you know of any good examples that follow this structure? Thanks!

  4. Adrian Salmon March 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Just in answer to Lee’s comment, people get awfully confused about PCI and postal donation forms. The two have nothing to do with one another. PCI governs what happens when you get someone’s details, it has nothing to do with how they get them to you unless it’s online or over the phone. You’re still far more likely to get someone to post you back a donation than donate online. So credit card details on a donation form are a must.

  5. Pete August 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Excellent information!! It doesn’t print for me either (from the web or from the .pdf file I downloaded). It appears as one teeny image on an 81/2×11 page. Can you suggest another option for printing so we can read it? Thanks!

  6. Connie March 14, 2016 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    I am new to this. I am trying to write a heartfelt appeal letter to explain what our non-profit is (a place where low-income/ homeless elderly can live), to strangers that have never heard of it, and how to I peek their interest enough to 1. Want to see it. And 2. To donate to it.
    how do you get new donors. Everything I have tried to look up on the internet, wants you to “Join” something that usually costs money. We are a very small non-profit.
    How do I start? Should I visit in person? I don’t want this to end up like most appeals, in the trash.
    Any advice?

    • Steven Shattuck
      Steven Shattuck March 14, 2016 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      It’s hard to beat in-person visits! Always start with people you know, not strangers.

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