An important consideration for a donation request letter to members of your community for an after school program is to keep its audience in mind: Not everyone who receives your letter has children and not everyone who receives your letters is going to understand the need for after school programs.
Whether your program is teaching kids about growing vegetables in a school garden, playing sports, or art for the purpose of emotional healing, the challenge is the same: to make potential donors understand the importance of your program, even if they don’t have children or don’t feel it’s important.
(More about donation request letters, including free to copy sample donation request letters.)
Helping your potential donor understand
Because not everyone understands the purpose of after schools programs you will have to explain. Launching directly into talking about your programs may make the topic too impersonal and distant from the reader’s experience. It may be better to start out with a specific personal story, or a detail about your program that many may not have thought of.
Because personal stories that talk about specific individuals who have benefited from such programs make the subject of after school programs more real, they take the reader from thinking about donating to a ‘program’ to donating to ‘individuals in need.’ Taking this a step further, give examples about how after school programs can ‘help the whole community’ and not just individuals. For example, after school programs may help kids stay in school, give them inspiration to achieve more and thus become highly productive members of the community.
Also read: Fundraising Donation Request Letter: A Writing Guide
Grab your reader’s attention
But before trying to get your message across, get your readers attention with a catchy opening. If someone takes the time to open your letter and take a look, he or she may not make it past the first few lines if there is nothing interesting or novel for them to read. A heartfelt or otherwise intriguing opening may just hold their attention for a few more lines. Make your letter worth their time.
Provide general details
Once the reader has a more personal involvement in the need for after school programs then you can give a brief but thorough general overview of what your after school programs do and who they are for. Relay this information only after you have tried to make your potential donors understand the importance of your after school programs. Do give enough details to show that you are running your group in a professional manner and that any potential donors can trust you will use their donations wisely.
Tell your potential supporters what their donation will do
Just as you made after school programs personal with individual stories, make it real again by telling the reader what their donations will do. You want your donors to know exactly what their money will be spent on. If they can imagine their money helping people in need then they will give it.
Also read: What Donors Want to Know Before They Give
Keep asking for what you want
You do not want to overdo your requests for donations but do not be afraid to ask more than once. In fact, your requests should be spread throughout your letter so that the thought of giving stays in your readers’ minds. Ask from the beginning and ask after you make points about why these donations are so important. You need to find that delicate balance where you do not ask too often but you ask enough that your reader never forgets why they are learning how essential after school programs are.
A donation request letter for an after school program is an exercise in helping people understand. Not everyone knows why these programs are so important. You have to help them see just how much a donation to your after school program can help not just individuals, but also your community as a whole.