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5 Opening Lines for Fundraising Messages

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

Getting started can be awkward. Especially when writing fundraising messages. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a formal letter asking for donations or typing out a simple fundraising text. How do you politely ask for donations?

If you feel uncomfortable putting together fundraising messages, then try a different approach. You needn’t even ask for a financial gift or a donation. Put money out of your mind.

Instead, just write the first line. Use your opening words to share the story of the wonderful work you’re doing. Focus on the people and the lives that are impacted.

When you focus on people, you leave behind the icky feelings about money. Your words flow better. You’re less awkward because you’re talking about life … not numbers. 

Try these five ways to start your fundraising messages. I’ve shared a couple of examples of each one. I’ve taken them directly from fundraising appeal examples I’ve kept in my swipe files. They work. And they’ll help you get started.

And once you get started, the story is easy to tell.

5 ways to start fundraising messages with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #nonprofits

5 Different Ways to Start Fundraising Messages

1. Start with a report

Use your opening line to share a description or an update about a situation.

The Afghan people continue to struggle against terrible odds. Many must travel long distances from their home villages in search of food and supplies. Others are forced to go without food entirely. [CARE]

The situation in southern Sudan has turned very grave. The president of Sudan has renewed his call for a jihad … [Samaritan’s Purse]

2. Start with facts

Use your opening line to share statistics and facts about your cause.

Every four minutes a child is born with a cleft lip or palate. In many parts of this world, that child face a life of pain and suffering. Even death. But this is a solvable problem and, with your help, we can fix it. All these children need is a simple surgery … [SmileTrain]

Right now, more than 8 million children are facing famine and starvation in Africa. The combination of a brutal ongoing drought, recent poor harvests, and political and economic instability has created a massive human disaster … [UNICEF]

3. Start with a story

Use your opening line to share a story of a beneficiary you serve.

Simbuku loved his children dearly. He spent long, hard days in the fields, working from dawn until dusk to help his sons Yassin and Khalepo survive. And they managed … until rain stopped falling in Malawi. When food supplies began to run out, Simbuku skipped meals so his children could eat … [World Vision]

Seven years ago, little Sarah’s life changed forever when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 6. Sarah was in a near coma when her mom rushed her to the pediatrician …[Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International]

4. Start with a summary of your mission

Use your opening line to restate why you do the work you do.

I am excited about how God is using the Mission Society as an instrument in bring the lost of the world to Him.  Although the present international climates makes this task increasingly difficult, I have a sense of anticipation as  I seek God’s guidance in this ministry. [The Mission Society of the UMC]

It is impossible to be unmoved by the plight of refugees who so often appear on our television screens and in our newspapers. Their suffering compels us to examine our own humanity and choose compassionate action over indifference. I ask you to join me … [International Rescue Committee]

5. Start with an ask

Use your opening line to ask for support to change lives, not cash.

During this season of giving, we ask you, as a graduate, to help support our students’ musical education by giving to the Eastman Fund. Your gift will immediately and directly support … [The Eastman School of Music]

We are writing today to invite you to share you love, prayers, and support with one boy or girl who lives in poverty. Though you may not be able to change the whole world, you can change the world for one child in desperate need. Many children, such as Erick Lopez from El Salvador … [Compassion International]

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