Don’t mail without looking at this fundraising checklist

Here’s a checklist that will help you craft a strong appeal for funds, from Clairification: Check Your Next Appeal Letter Against This 16-Point List Before Sending.

This could make a real difference for you:


  1. Have you outlined a compelling problem that connects with what your donor cares about?
  2. Have you offered a simple, results-oriented solution?
  3. Have you described an attainable goal, including what it will cost?
  4. Have you packed in emotional triggers?
  5. Do you have an urgent deadline?
  6. Are you speaking to the donor and using the magic word ‘you’?
  7. Are you reminding donors of the rewards that come from giving?
  8. Are you making a clear upfront ask?
  9. Are you coming from an attitude of gratitude?
  10. Is the solution you suggest believable?
  11. Is the solution scalable so it can be attained by different donation levels?
  12. Can the donor understand how their gift will be used as leverage?
  13. Is your writing conversational?
  14. Have you used simple legible fonts?
  15. Have you given your readers’ eyes a rest?
  16. Have you eliminated buzz words and jargon?

Some of those items are big. This is a checklist you should have in front of you from the moment you start planning your appeal, not just as a quick go-over just before you mail.

But follow these things, and you’ll do much better.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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