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What Makes A Powerful Year-End Giving Letter?

By   /  November 10, 2022  /  Comments Off on What Makes A Powerful Year-End Giving Letter?

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There is a degree of coordination that should come with every fundraising activity. This should reflect in the way things are done, including the communication that is being sent out. Regarding communication, we would like to beam some ray on a year-end giving letter. This letter has to be strategically written and well-detailed.

Plus, you should note that it will leave an impression in the mind of the reader – that is, the donor you’re prospecting. The letter is not about the content alone; there’s more to it. You can read on to see what makes a year-end giving powerful if you wish to maximize this communication avenue.


There may be no hard and fast rule to writing a year-end giving letter, but simplicity must not be traded for anything else. The message in the letter should be clear for the reader to grasp. You don’t have to beat about the bush and avoid using jargon. However, while the letter has to be formal, you should infuse some friendly tone.

You should take time out to learn one or two things about writing the letter in a conversational style. This ensures a good level of engagement with the prospective donor (reader). In effect, the reader gets closer to continue reading the letter – till the very end. Even though you might be contacting the donor for the first time, you will be able to strike a chord with a simple and well-written letter.

Choice Of Words

The discourse about the choice of words when writing a year-end giving letter could have been treated under the ‘simplicity’ section. However, I prefer to look at it separately for emphasis. The first thing you have to understand here is that you are direct and expressive with the use of words. Right from the heading of the letter through the body, your use of words must be impeccable.

You are not writing any strictly technical piece, so ensure the flow is smooth. What I mean by this is that you use words that would not give room for misinterpretation. The message in the letter must be easy to read and understand by anyone firsthand. Your audience may not even have the luxury of resorting to other references to ascertain what you are trying to communicate.

Broadly speaking, your choice of words in a year-end giving letter can make or mar your fundraising project. You should learn to leave a good first impression through the letter. And this brings us to the aspect of creativity. You have to use words creatively while focusing on the overarching objective of writing the letter.

A Captivating Story

Getting a positive outcome from your interaction on year-end giving through a letter isn’t magic. Besides every other thing, a story that captivates could be the secret weapon you need to unleash. Here is another reason you’ve got to be creative in your writing. It’s not about you putting up some fictional story but telling your story to attract prospective donors. By the way, your story is a major part of the message body.

Firstly, you should consider telling the reader about the vision and mission of your organization. People tend to pay more attention to non-profits that show undeterred commitment to charity – through their vision. Though some persons may donate something in the spirit of the (giving) season, there are others who will even do more. And you should position yourself to catch the attraction of the latter.

Still on storytelling, you can also let the reader know about what you have been able to achieve so far. At this point, you can cite an example of how your intervention – through donations from donors – helped those needing relief. This is a way of rousing some emotional response from the reader. But you should not always ride on emotions alone – choose to be strategic and intentional.


Another step towards writing a powerful year-end giving letter is segmentation. This concerns placing the target audience into groups – maybe of new prospects, regular/loyal donors, etc. The significance of segmentation hinges on preparing a letter that appeals to individual donors. This would guide you on the content of the letter you’ll be sending out.

It is expected that the content of a letter to a donor who has been there through the years will be different from that of a new or less consistent one. This is why segmentation must be integrated into your communication strategy. The issue of erroneously sending similar letters to everyone will be cut out because of this.


Well, ensuring that your year-end giving letter reflects urgency doesn’t equate to coming across as desperation. It’s simply a matter of including a call to action and letting the reader see how pressing the needs are. You don’t have to wait till the very end – inclusion of CTA – as your story can also show the state of things. Most of the donors (that is, the reader) will get the point, so avoid being forceful or irrational.

Relatedly, you should not forget to include a viable means through which donations can be sent. Some fundraisers attach a donation form to their year-end giving letter. Your text-to-give details or online donation link can also be duly communicated.

Thank You

“Thank You” is another subtle or secret weapon in a year-end giving letter, especially if you’re out to old/loyal donors. Your letter presents a medium to appreciate their efforts – over time – once more. Again, this doesn’t have to be left to the concluding part of the letter; you can begin with an expression of gratitude. Over and above all, you should remember that everyone deserves a “Thank You” in the end. So, you should not forget to thank the reader for granting your letter an audience.


Every means of communication with prospective donors must be decisively engaged – the year-end giving letter is certainly no exception. You should not just be looking to scribble some words together; your use of words must be carefully thought-out. Ensure you prepare well and use relevant information – as highlighted in this article – to guide your writing.

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