Solicitation Letters & Direct Mail Interview

My most read post, Simple Solicitation Letters, has become so popular I decided to provide more for you on how to write good solicitation letters. Geoffrey Peters and Steven Maggio are experts in their fields and have some great tips and ideas for you. Make sure to check back throughout the week for more advice on how to write a good solicitation letter. Feel free to check out other online interviews about Capital Campaigns or Online Giving.

What are the key components of a good solicitation letter?

CDR Fundraising Group:
A clear indication of what your “story” is with a case history and an urgent reason to give. Short declarative sentences and a PS recapturing what you are asking the prospective donor to do.
Geoffrey Peters, President,

DaVinci Direct:
Most good letters tell a story – with a beginning a middle and an end. But good storytelling alone will not do the job. You need to have a clear offer, a sense of urgency and a strong “ask” or call to action. The letter should tap into the donor’s or prospect’s emotional need to do good – to right a wrong and/or make a difference.

Giving feels good, and the letter should convince the reader that their generous act will truly have meaning and give them a sense of accomplishment.

Showing accountability is important these days as well. Explaining how careful and efficient you are with the donor’s hard-earned money is helpful. Describe exactly what their donation will do.

I like to have a personalized salutation on my letters, and often use the donor’s name and their state and/or town name in the body of the letter.

To me, a letter should look like a letter – not a brochure. I’ve had a few clients that want to have several pictures on the letter or use more than one person to sign the letter. I prefer to design letters to look like real letterhead, and have one signatory, to make the letter look like a personal, one-to-one communication.

I almost always use a P.S. that re-states the offer, sometimes adding a deadline to increase urgency. Include a url that drives folks who prefer to give on line to a unique landing page that echoes the look and feel of the direct mail appeal.
Steven J. Maggio, President,


2 Responses to Solicitation Letters & Direct Mail Interview

  1. BethP says:

    Thanks, Jason, for the follow up post! Consistent with the expert opinions expressed here, we’ve found that our most successful fundraisers are those who share their stories and then make an ask to their network of family, friends and acquaintances. For example, see Will Weidman’s story and fundraising page at:

  2. Leanne says:

    I really love the idea of not only addressing a donor by name in the letter but mentioning the state they live in as well. Great nugget of information, Jason! Thanks for posting this.

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