Tips for Writing Fundraising Letters

Mabel Lossing Jones (missionary to India) wrote fundraising letters for 50 years, and the money poured in—enough to keep a thousand boys in school with scholarships. The following are some nuggets of wisdom she passed on:

Keep your letters brief--about one and a half pages long. Long letters are often not read at all. It is a good idea to write several pages and then let them cool for a day or so. Then go over the letter carefully and prayerfully, cutting out unnecessary words and paragraphs. Sometimes it will end up in the wastebasket and you will have to try again. Keep in mind who will read the letter. If it is an interesting letter and not too long, it will probably be shared with friends. It may be taken to Sunday School, mission meetings, given to the pastor, even read in church. Write carefully:

  1. Never ask for anything, merely state the need. Express your confidence that God will provide.  “According to your faith” is still true. Express that faith! 
  2. Invite them to prayerfully consider partnering with you through prayer and/or financial support.
  3. Make a note of things that might be of interest.
  4. Write simply. Big words and long, involved sentences have no place in a letter that may be read aloud. Read your letter aloud to see how it sounds before sending it.
  5. Never ask for money. Speak of the need.
  6. Pictures of a need are effective.
  7. Write with a prayer for guidance. God can use a pen as well as a voice. A letter that will be read as you hope your letter will be needs His approval.
  8. One thing of importance: Use that blank half-page for something in your own handwriting. This personalizes the letter and often lands it on a desk instead of the wastebasket.

“Whether it is the wisest way to give or not, the fact remains that many Christian people will give to mission work only if they are interested in some special project. They want to know where their money is going—a very natural desire. Given this information, many who would otherwise give nothing at all, happily continue their gifts year after year.”

Some other important information to include: Tell where you plan to go and what you plan to do. When? How much money do you need? When do you need to have it in hand? Who are you going with? Why are you going? Has the Lord given you any specific direction?

It is important to keep in touch with those who respond.

1. Acknowledge every gift as soon as possible.
2. Keep records accurately and honestly.