Five Tips for Writing a Successful Year-End Appeal

1) Say “Thank You.”

Give credit where credit is due. Without your donors’ support, your organization can't carry out its important work. Make your donors feel appreciated by thanking them in the beginning and end of your appeal – and wherever you feel appropriate. When your donors feel like an integral part of your organization's success, they are more likely to continue their support year after year.

2) Simplify your message.

Make your tone conversational. Eliminate wordy verbiage and industry jargon and get straight to the point. Bold or bullet point sentiments that you want to stand out. Give readers specific examples of how critical their support is – and has been – to carrying out your organization's mission. Be mindful that you don't focus too much on accomplishments and statistics, but rather on the donor and his or her ability to help impact your cause.

3) Segment your donors, and speak to what’s important to them.

Do your research. Tailor your message to resonate with specific donors. Remind loyal donors of the impact their past support has had on your organization's progress and ask them to consider increasing their gift if possible. Appeal to prospective donors by showing them how their support can multiply your organization's future impact. Understanding who your donors are and what motivates them to give will help inspire them to donate to your year-end campaign.

4) Show your impact through storytelling.

Sharing stories of impact and how your organization’s work is changing lives are key to moving donors to give to your campaign. While some statistics can effectively demonstrate the need, too many of them can lose a reader's attention. Connect donors to your cause through storytelling and by showing they can make a difference in people's lives by supporting your work. The more personal the examples the better!

5) Tell donors how they can help, and make it easy for them to give.

Be sure to make the ask when writing your appeal letter. Don't expect donors to read between the lines, so be sure to include specific requests about how they can support your organization’s work. In your call to action, make it convenient for them to donate by including a return envelope or directing them to online and mobile giving options. The simpler the giving process, the more likely a donor will support your campaign.