As you prepare your year-end fundraising appeal, let us help you craft an effective appeal.

Use research and data in your appeal. “Each year, more than 1,000 feral cats reproduce an additional 5,000 feral kittens.” is a sentence that clearly paints the picture of your need, as opposed to something like, “Help reduce the feral cat population.”

I always advise that your ask be explicit and direct. Don’t be wishy washy with your appeal.

Your donors and potential donors have reasons and interests that will lead them to contribution to your organization. Make sure your appeal touches these, and your donors realize the personal value of their gift.

Think about the unexpected appeal, particularly if you have a donor base of long-term contributors who have been receiving your year-end asks for a long time. Try to offer your organization and its work in a different light or from a different perspective.


Think carefully about each and every word you use in your appeal. Here are some words I find particularly effective.

Give your audience an opportunity to feel an emotional connection to your cause. This makes for a compelling appeal. Write you letter so the reader feels it was developed specifically for him or her. Provide information on what happens when your organization does not have enough funding to do its mission work. Be friendly and engaging so your potential donors feel as if they know you. Tell your audience how they, and their gift, will be recognized.

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