Campaign Corner: How to write effective fundraising letters

The Campaign Corner series looks to give three tips about commonly asked campaign issues. Do get in touch if you have any questions you would like to suggest.

Today’s Campaign Corner question: I know I need to ask members and supporters for money to help fund our local campaigning, but I hate writing fundraising letters. What should I say?

  1. The basic formula is thank, warn, inspire: in other words, thank people for their past support, warn them of what can go wrong if there is not enough money for the campaign (e.g. if another party can get through a controversial policy unopposed) and offer hope for what their donation will bring (e.g. saving the local park from that controversial planning application).
  2. Ask for specific sums for specific projects: the more specific the request, the more likely people will be to respond – because they get a sense of what their money will do rather than fear that it will simply disappear into a bottomless pit of political financial requests.
  3. Don’t just ask members for money: if you are doing good local campaigning, there are many people who appreciate what you do – and only a small proportion of them are party members. So make sure you include other groups of people such as non-member deliverers, regular poster sites and so on. Keep track of who does or doesn’t respond to appeals so you can refine your list over time.

Got any other tips? Please do share them in the comment thread below.

Want to know more about local campaigning? Campaigning In Your Community by myself and Shaun Roberts should be right up your street. It’s available for only £4 from ALDC and you can read an extract for free here.

Previous Campaign Corners have included:

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2 Comments

  • As Mark says, it needs to be specific. But it is best when it is also **additional**. Buying a Riso when you don’t have one, being able to fight a new ward, and (ultimately) buying a building. People like buying things – preferably concrete things. It also helps when it is obvious that the thing will not go ahead without new funds.

    It is the same in univ fundraising – if it is concrete, you can raise money for it. If it is ongoing, it is much harder.

    Tim

  • I’ve also found that non-members are more likely to give money too as they aren’t asked as much and don’t receive national fundraising mailings or phone calls.

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