October 19, 2009   ·   By   ·   No Comments   ·   Posted in General

Bragging does not always come easy. Sometimes we brag about the wrong things, but when it comes to the promotion of a charitable organization and the writing of a year-end appeal letter, one cannot brag too much. This is profoundly true when you need to brag on how you spent other people’s money the year prior. After all, a nonprofit is a public trust and the money you spent to increase capacity this year comes from the public, and therefore, they have a right know how the organization spent it.

Most often, the annual report illustrates to the board, and the community at large, the financial well-being of an organization.

There is one other time in the course of the year that you can exhibit bragging rights and use it for fundraising purposes….

…and that time is NOW…..

The year-end appeal letter is most often neglected as a public relations tool. It should be sent to your past donors, as well as prospect donors.

Here are some points that you should include:

• The beginning paragraph should thank the past donors and wish them a happy holiday season. Without their benevolence, there would be no organization. Thank them in the beginning, thank them in the middle and thank them at the end of the letter.
• If the letter is going to a prospect donor, explain how you obtained their name.
• Explain how in 2009 the organization weathered a great challenge (as most did this year) and that regardless of the recession, the charitable organization delivered xyz services to the community. In short order, what was the IMPACT in specific and measurable terms.
• Position the organization to catapult to a new level and explain what the plans are for 2010.
• Finally, ask for a specific amount. Don’t leave it to chance. If your organization has a goal to reach by the end of the calendar year, be specific on how it will be used.
“Your donation of $75 will enable us to start to plan
for 2010 with enthusiasm and optimism.”

Remember, donors NEVER give to distress; they give to success. Make your case for support upbeat and compelling enough that someone will write a check on the spot. It would be too easy to write about how difficult things are this year. PLEASE DON’T DO THAT! Be positive as no one wants one more piece of bad news; your letter will end up in the trash can if it is not motivating.

Your year-end letter must be in the mail by November 1st. It is already getting late as this year we expect a deluge of requests going to donors on behalf of charitable organizations.

If you need help writing a year-end letter, Picasso Strategic Solutions has a staff of writers that can help you.

Don’t miss out on this important fundraising and public relations tool.

Next blog will tell a bit more on how to enhance your website to receive gifts.

For now,

Lisa E. Benson
President & CEO
Picasso Strategic Solutions, LLC

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