The art of letter writing in business and fundraising

Copywriting is growing in importance daily, thanks to the proliferation of “online”. One area that’s been relying on copywriting for much longer than the age of the Internet is fundraising. A good appeal letter can make or break a charity fundraising drive. So there’s lots to learn from the space.

I just received one of the best THANK YOU letters (well, an email) I’ve ever received for a donation. Online made it simple to send, thanks to automation, but the content is what’s great.

The first line is brilliant. It subtly recognises that much of “giving” is really about making the GIVER feel good.

It then goes to to give you a little bit of knowledge, followed by a big deal of inspiration.

So it made me smile. And feel like I’m a good person. And that’s I’m part of something.

When was the last time you got all that for $20?

Great letter.

Dear Kimberly,

You are amazing, thank you so much for donating to the Wikimedia Foundation!

This is how we pay our bills — it’s people like you, giving five dollars, twenty dollars, a hundred dollars. My favourite donation last year was five pounds from a little girl in England, who had persuaded her parents to let her donate her allowance. It’s people like you, joining with that girl, who make it possible for Wikipedia to continue providing free, easy access to unbiased information, for everyone around the world. For everyone who helps pay for it, and for those who can’t afford to help. Thank you so much.

I know it’s easy to ignore our appeals, and I’m glad that you didn’t. From me, and from the tens of thousands of volunteers who write Wikipedia: thank you for helping us make the world a better place. We will use your money carefully, and I thank you for your trust in us.


Sue Gardner
Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director