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How community and residentsí groups can write a winning fundraising letter when there isnít much spare cash around (01 Dec 18)

Try to sound like a dedicated bunch of ordinary people who care deeply. Because unless that comes across, youíve got no hope


We have a couple of students Kara and Sarah who work for us in the summer. They are great as they are very hardworking, have loads of energy and most importantly for me just get on with things.

They are also remarkably good at picking up on what interests and motivates people, which is absolutely crucial to the day to day marketing of our courses.

So when Kara sent me a fundraising letter that she had written for her university squash club I was surprised that it wasnít that great. Then I suddenly thought, fundraising is actually THE most difficult thing to do.

Thatís because the benefit you are selling is not obvious.

Youíre not saying, ďthis will make your life easier, or do some thing better for YOU. Itís all about other people.

It got me thinking about what makes or breaks those hundreds of begging letters that land on donorís desks everyday.

But itís not those professionally written letters from charities that we all get that I am thinking of (many of which are not very good actually). Itís those community and residentsí groups who make one off applications to local companies and organisations.

Theirs is one of the trickiest and most difficult funding applications that can be made, as was Karaís.

Tricky because unlike applications to the national lottery or the major charitable giving trusts no one is obliged to even read your application. And difficult because there are no standard forms to follow and fill in. Instead itís all down to your ability to put across a convincing case in a letter.

And in todayís frightful economic climate an awful lot of community groups are chasing a decreasing amount of money. So to stand a chance you really have to have your wits about you and you have to use every trick in the book.

But letís first look at the letter that Kara sent me.

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How to market a community event