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Improved Fundraising Campaigns Increase Receipts Over 700% in Just Two Years

wna-logo_colorIn 2007, the Northern California Chapter of the Neuropathy Association (now The Western Neuropathy Association) embarked on their first official fundraising campaign ever. Previously, they sent dues reminders and requested donations, but this was their initial effort to try to get more contributions. This all-volunteer organization created a committee to draft the letter, equipped with one day of training a member had taken.

New board member Penni L. Smith prepared the letter for mailing, including the design of the letter, envelopes, and reply card. The package went to a list of current and former members, and had a fairly decent 9% response rate which brought in $4,173.

Although the results weren’t bad, the group wanted to do better, and Penni took on the responsibility of writing the letters and handling the other features of the campaigns, which were increased to twice a year. Always a fine writer, Penni read about fundraising letters and studied campaign strategies for the first time.

She put what she learned into practice to draft letters that were more compelling, reply forms that were easier to use, and mailing procedures that cut down on costs. In addition, she compiled and sanitized mailing lists from several sources to create an expanded list.

By 2009, just two years after that first letter, total receipts for the year had increased more than seven times to $30,583, and the response rate reached 15.4% for the fall campaign. Penni continued to handle the fundraising campaigns while she was on the board, bringing in a total of $75,000 during the years she wrote the letters, with an overall response rate of 11.7%.

Two PDF files of fundraising letters are available.  Click to view or right-click and choose Save Target As to download.

Fall 2010 Fundraising Letter Variations—One letter with reply form configured for various recipients.

Letters from Four Campaigns—A sample letter from each of four different campaigns that Penni wrote, plus some reply forms.
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