Blog | Academy for Nonprofit Excellence - Tidewater Community College -

Writing Tips for Fundraisers

November 23, 2016

Whether you're writing a letter of inquiry, a proposal, an annual fund letter, a case statement, an interim or final report—these are some of the questions you'll want to ask yourself before your start to write. 

  • Who is this letter going to? The way we talk with our most committed and passionate donors differs from the way we talk to institutional funders. Your written "voice" should reflect this.  
  • Who is it from? Who is signing this piece? Your executive director—a professional in the field, with boots on your programmatic ground—has a unique perspective on the issues that face your organization. Your board president has her/her own point of view. Make sure your reader can differentiate between these two voices. 
  • What do I want the reader to do?  That's easy, isn't it!  You want the reader to give money!  But are there other action statements you can make?  Do you want volunteers? Do you want people to wear green on Earth Day or take a two-minute moment of silence at noon on a certain day?
  • When do I want him to do it?  Institutional funders may not have the ability to respond to your due date. Individuals can. "By December 31st."  "By the end of our fiscal year on June 30th."  "By Homecoming.")
  • How do I want her to do it? Again, institutional donors may not have much leeway, but make sure your individual donors know what they have to do next—and give them the tools they need to do that.  Send a check? Make an electronic payment? Mail in a pledge card?  


This article was written by Marcy Horwitz, President, Marcy Horwitz & Associates, Inc.