The fundraising letter is a sales letter with heart tug. But it must be tempered with the kind of persuasive writing that brings results without broadcasting that it’s selling the reader something.
Many charities are competing for the same dollars, and unsolicited direct mail has gone beyond the saturation point. Frustrated, people often toss requests for donations after only a cursory glance, or less. To be successful, a fundraising letter must be part of a larger campaign, which has established the cause as having worthy goals and demonstrated accountability for donations. It helps a great deal if the charity is immediately recognized as a good cause.
For economy, the letter recipients should be selected as persons who have demonstrated interest in the charity's work or who have track records of giving to other similar charities. Then the letter must deliver a simple, concise, and convincing message. All these factors make the fundraising letter very difficult to master.