As many of the letters being sent transition from paper to digital and even email is being replaced by text messages and push notifications on apps, it’s important to think about whether we still have a place for formal salutations. While politeness and courtesy will never go out of style, too often when we call someone Mr. or Ms., such titles are eschewed for the person’s first name. When appealing to donors, what salutation should you use?

For the most part, the salutation should match the tone of your event or your appeal. This means that for a more formal event such as an Oscars party or black tie gala, you’ll wish to use a formal salutation. By doing so, you’ll set the tone for the letter and the level of the appeal that you’re hoping to reach. An informal event like a family picnic or day at a local ballpark can have an informal salutation. You’ll be attending a local baseball game with “John and Lisa” supporting your event rather than “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. It simply fits better.

Whenever you’re in doubt, there’s never anything wrong with going formal. There may be individuals supporting your organization, perhaps major donors, who prefer to be addressed by their formal salutations. This can be set on an organizational level or by choosing a preferred salutation for each individual donor.

The salutation is an often overlooked part of the appeals process, and yet it can set expectations for your donors as well as create the right tone. Hopefully that will translate into donations in line with your organization’s needs.

To learn more about how FundRaiser can help you choose the right salutation and craft appeal letters register for a tour or if you are already a FundRaiser user, contact FundRaiser Technical Support at or 800-543-4131.