The end of the year is the best time to ask for money. In the last post, we talked about what an Introduction Appeal Letter is and why it’s a good strategy when you are new. If you haven’t taken a look at it, then I encourage you to go back to the post. Let’s talk about what to write for your Introduction Appeal Letter.
This letter should be sent to 10 of you and your Board members’ friends and families. If you have letterhead, print the appeal letter on the letterhead. It’s time to dive in.
How to Write the Parts of the Introduction of the Letter
Since you are writing to someone you know, you don’t have to introduce yourself. You do need to introduce the organization. Tell the reader the good things you’ve already accomplished. If you’ve had an event already, share some highlights. If you have recently received your tax-exempt status, then tell them that. Remember, your reader is someone you know well so celebrate the little things if you don’t have a big thing. Give a sneak peek at what you’re working on. This is where you talk about tangible things your organization is planning to do for the next 3- 6 months. Be brief here.
How to Write the Parts of the Body of the Letter
Why is your Board member involved with your nonprofit? This is a general reason. You can survey your Board members for the most common reasons to put here. Your Board member will have a place to put their specific reason later. You can add a few statistics about the problem locally and why the organization has the best solution to solve the problem. Don’t put too many statistics in here though. We want to keep the emotional side of the brain turned on. This is a good place to use the Founder’s story and vision. It may be the one why most Board members are on your Board.
We begin transitioning to a specific ask in the next section. If you would like to start a program and need funds to do so, then begin laying out in general terms what your program is, how it will work, the need in the community, and who it serves.
The third section makes a direct ask for funds. It gives a goal and a suggestion of a dollar amount. You want to connect with your friend and the common interest you believe they share with your mission. Give them the big dollar figure, the total cost of your project, and break it down for them. Use your big dollar figure and divide by the number of letters going out. This will give you a baseline of an average gift you will need to receive per letter to make the goal. If your average gift is not $25, $50, $75, or $100, then round to the nearest gift. Always let them know you are grateful for any amount!
How to Write the Parts of the Conclusion of the Letter
It’s technically still part of the body but we start to wrap up the letter by thanking the person in advance for their support. This creates a happy and upbeat ending.
The signature and Title go next.
The P.S. is incredibly important. The name and P.S. of any letter are the two things that are always read. The P.S. really is a short summary of your letter with a call to action. In case you don’t know, a call to action is a sentence that tells the reader what action you want them to take.
Last, you need a statement in about 8 point font. This is your fine print. The statement should say, “Any money in excess of the (specific goal amount) will support the organization where it can do the most good”. Instead of “do the most good” you may use “where it’s needed most”. This helps you keep the funds unrestricted and able to use for anything in the organization once your goal has been reached to do the specific ask you said.
Once your letter is printed, have your Board member write a few sentences by their signature with a very personal ask or reason they serve. This will help the letter be less of a form letter and more of a personal note.
We have walked through the Introduction Appeal Letter writing process. Start writing your letter today. If you need help, the Nonprofit Founder’s Club Facebook group is writing a letter this month so I invite you to join us. Also, don’t forget to download the SWIPE file where I give you an example of an Introduction Appeal Letter.