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3 Tips for Appeal Letters


We’re into the end of the year giving season when many organizations are sending out appeal letters. This is a busy time for many nonprofits between Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, and then Christmas and last minute donations before the New Year rolls around. Yet, it’s important to give as much thought, if not more, to the appeal letters you send during this time of year. Your donors will most likely receive more of them and each one has to stand out.

Here are three tips to get you started.

Don’t be afraid to segment your appeal letters. With the year almost over, it’s a great time to dive into your donors and find out who gave this year for the first time, who hasn’t given yet this year, and who may be a major donor. Target your appeal letters for the different segments in your donor list and see if you can’t prompt them to give more and more often.

Be personal without the guilt. As you segment your letters, look at ways to personalize it for your donors. For example, small dollar donors who may only give $10 or $20 a year, let them know what their money does and how they can help within your organization. If someone made a major gift, or you pooled several major gifts together for a project, let those donors know. Everyone can help and every donation count. You know that, but sometimes your donors may feel as if what they do isn’t “big enough” to matter.

Stand out by bypassing clichés. During this time of year your donors will most likely see many “thankful for you” appeal letters and emails. Try gratitude/grateful for you instead. Or perhaps, “you are gifts to our organization” instead of “give us gifts”. Stay true to the holiday season, but mix it up a bit to stand out from the crowd.

You know your donors best, but these three tips can help you make the most of this appeal letter season.

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