When you're planning to conduct a direct mail fundraiser, it's important to draft a well-written, attention getting letter that will motivate recipients to give to your charity. As most fundraising professionals and volunteers realise, the content of fundraising letters if very important. However, many fundraisers lose sight of the fact the way the letter looks can be just as important as what it says.
Why Format Matters
The format you choose for your fundraising letters is important for a number of reasons. There are so many internet, email, and direct mail scams floating around that people are very hesitant to donate to any charity that doesn’t appear to be a legitimate organisation. This means that it’s vital that every letter, and other piece of printed material, you send out on behalf of your group be very professional in appearance.
Use Business Letter Format
Your fundraising letters should be drafted using a standard acceptable business letter format. While it can be a great technique to send hand written thank you letters, the last thing you should do is send out a fundraising letter that is not typed.
Use a computer to generate your letters and print them on high quality paper using an easy-to-read, professional font. Print the letter on paper that contains your charity's logo and mailing address. Include the recipients return address, a personal greeting, and complimentary closing. The body of the letter should be divided into three paragraphs, each of which should contain three or four sentences.
Do not use an elaborate or cursive font in any professional correspondence. Arial and Times New Roman are safe choices for fundraising letters, although there are plenty of other acceptable selections. Choose your font size carefully. Generally, it's best to use a 12 point type size in business letters.
In virtually every circumstance, fundraising letters should be no more than one page long, with one-inch margins all the way around. If your letter is too long, people won't bother to read it. Keep in mind that editing is an important part of the letter writing process. You may have to go through several revisions in order to consolidate it sufficiently.
Do not shrink the font down to a tiny size in order to get your letter to fit on a single page. Even though 12 point type is recommend, a 10 or 11 point font can be acceptable if necessary to keep the letter to a manageable size. Do not under any circumstances send out a letter with type smaller than 10 points.