Inspiring Generosity


8 Tips to Write Your Best Year-End Letter

                                8 fab tips! Lisa Trinidad- pixabay.com

Knock. Knock. Knock. Well hello there! It's nice to see you. Take a deep breath. Good. It’s time to write your year-end letter. You may be tempted to say, “I’ll do it next week.” I know, that’s my inclination. But that’s a baaaad idea. Take another deep breath. Don’t sweat it – you’ve got this.
Why write a year-end letter? Because, according to Neon,
31% of all donations are given in December.
12% of giving happens in the last three days of the year.
28% of non-profits raise up to 50% of their annual funds from their year-end ask.
Direct mail is still the most popular method of asking.
Here’s another reason to write that letter: People of faith are moved to give because they want to honor and celebrate all the things the incarnate God has done for them.
Here are four tips you'll want to remember as you write your year-end letter:
1. Tell a story. Paint a picture with words of someone or some place that needs your congregation or organization.
2. Keep it clear and simple. This is not the time to impress with your fabulous grasp of the English language.
3. Let the reader know what you plan to do with their donation. This will help focus your letter and the donor wants to know where their money is going too.
4. Be emotional. No, your tears don’t have to stain the page (that would require too much crying on your part). But because we are people who are moved by emotion, let your reader know how a gift from them will change a life, change the world, and change them.
Bonus: Keep the focus on the giver. “Because of you…” “Your gift will…” “You have the opportunity to…”
And the importance of formatting? That’s an art all in of itself. Here are four  more tips:
5. Leave lots of white space. Make it easy for the eye to rest. If that means your letter is two pages, then do it. Research shows that two-page (or longer) letters do better than one-page letters.
6. At minimum, use 12-point font. Think about who will be reading your letter (dear sweet Mrs. Jones). The eyes of the elderly, just aren’t what they used to be. Honor that and make it easy to read.
7. Use photos, preferably of one or maybe two people. Photos are great...in moderation. You don’t want to distract; you want to enhance with photos. It's best not to clutter, you want to direct people’s eye to the written word.
8. Sign the letter. If you can personally sign it, that’s the best. But if you can’t do that, scan your signature and insert it into the signature line. Whatever you do, don’t leave a big white space where your signature should be.
Want more ideas? Feel free to review some previous blog posts:
3 Content Tips for Your Best Year-End Letter
Your Most Important Letter of the Season
Write Your Year-End Letter Right Now!
And...here’s my annual Christmas gift to you!
Email me your year-end letter at InspiringGenerosity@gmail.com and I'll give you some feedback on how it can even be better.
You and your congregation or organization are doing great things in the world. You are changing lives and sharing the love of Jesus with people who need Good News. I want your letter to be as successful as possible. You’ve got this. Now, go write that letter.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She’s going to start writing her Christmas letter today. Yes, she is. She really is. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.