A strong solicitation email,letter or pitch offers a strong,compelling and well-supported appeal to donors.
1. Tell a STORY: Engage the reader by presenting a compelling narrative portrait of the organization’s problem or need.
2. Appeal to SHARED VALUES: Appeal to the donor’s values and motivations,which include being part of a solution,making a visible/measurable impact,etc.
3. Focus on SOLUTIONS: Describe the need,establish a logical solution,and lay the groundwork for the ask. Show how your organization’s work (and by extension,that of you supporters) is essential to the solution.
4. Answer the “SO WHAT” QUESTIONS: Discuss the problem in a way that helps the reader see the urgent need for change. Discuss consequences for inaction or under-supported action. When appropriate,use experts to help make the case.
5. Make a SPECIFIC ASK: Make a strong and direct ask of the donor. Include clear directions for action.
6. Keep it SIMPLE and SINCERE: Be persuasive. Don’t overwhelm the reader with information. Use simple language that is easy to understand. Avoid jargon,acronyms and/or abbreviations. Practice professional communication behaviors regarding spelling,grammar,language,speech,etc. Don’t emotionally manipulate your audience,rather demonstrate your respect and sincere gratitude for their time and any support they offer.
From Jil Freeman,Advisor,Training &Online Curriculum Developer at Education Northwest in Portland,Oregon