8 Tips to Write Your Best Year-End Letter

Why write a year-end letter? Because, according to Neon,

31% of all donations are given in December.
12% of giving happens in the last three days of the year.
28% of non-profits raise up to 50% of their annual funds from their year-end ask.

Direct mail is still the most popular method of asking.

Here's another reason to write that letter: People of faith are moved to give because they want to honor and celebrate all the things the incarnate God has done for them.
 
Here are four tips you'll want to remember as you write your year-end letter:

  1. Tell a story. Paint a picture with words of someone or some place that needs your congregation or organization.
  2.  Keep it clear and simple. This is not the time to impress with your fabulous grasp of the English language.
  3. Let the reader know what you plan to do with their donation. This will help focus your letter and the donor wants to know where their money is going too.
  4. Be emotional. No, your tears don't have to stain the page (that would require too much crying on your part). But because we are people who are moved by emotion, let your reader know how a gift from them will change a life, change the world, and change them.

Bonus: Keep the focus on the giver. "Because of you…" "Your gift will…" "You have the opportunity to…"

And the importance of formatting? That's an art all in of itself. Here are four more tips:

  1. Leave lots of white space. Make it easy for the eye to rest. If that means your letter is two pages, then do it. Research shows that two-page (or longer) letters do better than one-page letters.
  2. At minimum, use 12-point font. Think about who will be reading your letter (dear sweet Mrs. Jones). The eyes of the elderly, just aren't what they used to be. Honor that and make it easy to read.
  3. Use photos, preferably of one or maybe two people. Photos are great...in moderation. You don't want to distract; you want to enhance with photos. It's best not to clutter, you want to direct people's eye to the written word.
  4. Sign the letter. If you can personally sign it, that's the best. But if you can't do that, scan your signature and insert it into the signature line. Whatever you do, don't leave a big white space where your signature should be.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing, Oregan-Idaho AC, Click here to subscribe to her blog: "Inspiring Generosity."

United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.