How to write effectively a fundraising letter or a direct mail

Are your selling or fundraising? Get your results off to a rip-roaring start with direct mail. To make every letter or ezine count, follow these seven steps and leave your competitors in the dust.

Rule 1:  Research: Customer satisfaction survey!

Before you write, do a couple hours of research. Patience and time must be your best friends in this task. Ask a handful of your current customers to tell you in their own words what they like most about doing business with you. Ask them that way. Select those with a smile and genuinely grateful. If you have choice between first visit, referral or repeat. Sample the repeat customer – free advertisement by word of mouth.  What they will tell you will be the most important benefits they perceive. Use those benefits to start your letter.

Rule 2:  Offer / Guarantee or Appeal to the greatness / avoid creating the feeling of guilty

Come up with a really dynamite reason for someone to respond to the letter. Make an extraordinary offer. Find a new and appealing way to bundle together a number of your product or services. Or offer special payment terms. Or an unusual guarantee. People buy with their emotions and not reason! If you like something. you unreservedly ask for it. can I have it now? if you are convinced to like something you promise or request to be allowed time to decide. It is common courtesy.You need to rationalize because you are not an animal of instinct but logic one.  The highest probability is that you will come back with more questions!

Rule 3:  Be concise and think in terms of the audience’s interest

When you start writing, use short words and short sentences. People can’t, won’t, and don’t read long, complicated stuff. Not if they don’t have to. They won’t read your letter unless it’s EASY to read.

Keep in mind this old adage by an anonymous Author “A paper should be like a mini skirt: long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep it interesting.” For this matter any communication and marketing material must be brief to the point.

Rule 4: Apply the Ratio of 4:1

Count the number of you’s and your’s in the letter. Your letter should have at least twice as many you’s and your’s as I’s and mines and your company’s name. A ratio of four to one is even better. When they read your letter, your customers like it when you talk about their dreams, their problems, solutions you can provide to their problems, and the benefits they will receive. And they will show their appreciation — with sales!

Rule 5: A direct mail is not a newspaper subscription!

Whatever you do, DON’T mail it out the minute after you write it. Avoid publishing it when the ideas are still sensational. No matter how good a writer you are! Let it sit a day or two. Then, rewrite your letter to make it simpler, clearer and more compelling. After that, read it out loud. Then, show your letter to some customers. If their reaction is interesting or well written, you may have a loser on your hands. A sales letter isn’t an essay. It’s a sales piece, first and foremost. So, after reading, if your customers say, “How can I get one of those?” — they want to buy what you’re offering — you’ve got yourself a guerrilla letter.

Rule 6:  hire a kindergarten pupil to proof-read

Check to see if it’s clear what you’re offering and how a reader can take you up on the offer. One great way to find out is to have a child read your letter. Children often see the obvious that adults — caught up in the more abstract problems and distractions of life — miss.

Who discovered the Emperor had been conned and was parading himself naked? A child. In the short story published on 7 April 1837 titled “The Emperor’s New Clothes” written by Hans Christian Andersen; it is about two weavers who promised an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent.  A child said “but he isn’t wearing anything at all”. Yet all others were quiet lest they be deemed to be….? Think twice before you submit your write up for a peer-review. Or to your yes – men.

Rule 7:  Pilot testing

Do a test mailing and measure the results. Don’t send out all your letters at once. Just send out a few dozen. Or a few hundred. When the results come in — when your mail is good, they’ll come in fast — then do the mathematics. Number never lie!

Conclusion – Postmortem!

I believe you could or would make money? This advice can get you more than you would have gotten if you had put the time to use? When and if you apply. Because many receive good advice but few profit from it.  I challenge you to try this? Are your answers yes, then roll out it. And let the profits roll in or the funds you require for your “call” flow in.

I wish you success.


Acknowledgment the original text was sourced from I have edited and added more information.

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4 thoughts on “How to write effectively a fundraising letter or a direct mail

  1. Daniel Musungu - February 16, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Uncle, I totally agree and appreciate your views. I especially like your first 4 points since they touch on my day to day work. I agree and emphasize the importance of knowing your customers well before engaging them. I further agree courtesy of my close to 10 years experience in sales that as sales people we are in the business of satisfying customers needs. Note that we don’t create the needs. Our job is purely identifying and satisfying the needs of our customers. What a better way to satisfy your customers by showing/demonstrating to them what is in your product/service that will benefit them hence the need to talk in terms of you/yours as opposed to I/mine.

    Forever proud of your work.

  2. Duncan Tarbox - May 7, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Fundraising organizers are realizing that in order to complete the event with a significant amount of raised revenue, it must be run as efficiently and resourcefully as a business. Websites, online payment capability, and electronic payment processing are three key factors that can help overcome many of fundraising’s obstacles.

  3. Kiesha Hagins - May 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Fundraising through various activities as sales, silent auctions, walk-a-thons, races, or entertainment events is a popular revenue generator for charitable and non-profit organizations. However, quite a few obstacles exist in the pursuit of running a successful fundraiser, including lacking or overworked volunteers, limited payment methods, limited reach, and overall process inefficiencies.-..


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