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Language Considerations When Writing Donation Request Letters

Summary:

The resources in this section discuss various aspects of writing donation request letters. This includes a discussion of the rhetorical situation and standard formatting/style issues. Writing strong donation request letters can increase the likelihood that your target audience will be receptive to your request. 

Contributors:Libby Chernouski
Last Edited: 2015-02-18 05:29:34

Successful donation request letters are specific, conversational, and concise.

Tone

The tone you use will depend on your audience, but a general rule when writing donation request letters is that using informal language will help you to connect with your audience. When describing your cause, your needs, and your request, choose language that is approachable rather than stiff and technical.

Use “you” to address the recipient directly and personally. Although your letter needs to introduce the sender and the sender’s cause, focus more on the recipient, how they can donate, and what their donation will accomplish. Rephrasing statements about you or your cause to focus on the recipient and using “you” language helps do this. Similarly, referring to the body you represent as “we” will help make the letter sound more personal.

Specificity 

Being clear and specific is a good practice in writing in general, but it becomes especially important when you are stating a need and suggesting a path of action to your reader. The more specific your writing is, the more clearly audience will be able to imagine the situation and the impact they could have by donating to your cause. For more infomation on specificity in writing, see the resource located here.

Conciseness

It is important to be concise when writing a donation request letter. You want to include only as much information and as many details as are necessary to accomplish all the things your request must. Because your audience is preoccupied and your medium is limited (one or two pages), you want to make the best use of your space by being concise and efficient. For more information on writing concisely, click here

Be strategic when editing your letter for conciseness. For instance, your description and justification of your need should be the most substantial, though still concise. This section of your letter must convince your audience to donate, while the introduction to your company or organization may not need to be more than a line or two, especially if you’ve included supplemental materials.

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