Skip to main content

Appeal Letters

The primary purpose of an appeal letter is to raise additional money from supporters, to work toward your organization’s mission.  While supporters can donate any time of the year, you can use an appeal letter to highlight a specific need.  Focusing on a specific need might motivate a new donor or give a current donor a reason to increase contributions.

How do I make sure my appeal letter stands out?

  • State your cause clearly – What is the community need and how does your organization meet that need?  Start your letter with a powerful “hook.”  Make your audience want to continue reading your letter.
  • Ask directly for a contribution – Specifically direct your audience to act by giving a donation to support something specific and tangible.  For example: give $XXX to sponsor a semester-long Basic Computer class for underemployed adults, or $XXX to help 15 learners prepare for and take their GED tests.  
  • Show your gratitude – Sincerely thank your audience for taking the time to consider a gift to your organization. If the letter is to a previous donor, start the letter with a thank you.
  • Personally sign the letter – Show your reader that a real person is behind the letter. Include a short, personal note at the bottom of letters going to people you know.  

How long should my appeal letter be?

It’s more difficult than ever to grab and keep the attention of our readers.  You must motivate your audience to: 

  • read your letter  
  • act on it

Create a message that is quick and easy to digest: 

  • Start with a “hook” that motivates your audience to keep reading
  • Keep it to 1 page or less
  • Use 14-point font
  • Leave 40-50% white space
  • Present your information in small chunks of text 
  • Use the active voice (stay away from passive tense)
  • Write to your reader (use “I,” “you,” and “we”)


“How to Write an Effective Fundraising Letter” by Marte Cliff: