How To Ask For Donations By Text & Email: Wording & Examples

How To Ask For Donations By Text & Email: Wording & Examples [Updated April 2024]

April 17, 2024
14 minutes
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When it comes to fundraising, a good place to start is at the very beginning—and that means knowing how to ask for donations. Donations are what makes the nonprofit world go round, raising awareness and funds for your cause and letting you make a bigger impact. Maybe you’re a fundraising expert who’s planned swoon-worthy black-tie galas start to finish, or perhaps you have grand fundraising aspirations but have only dabbled in the fine art of Kickstarter campaigns. Either way, we can help you take things up a notch as we dive into the nitty-gritty details of asking for a donation. Buckle up; it’s gonna be a wild (and highly effective) ride.

The basics of how to ask for donations

There are many ways to ask for donations, depending on which channel you’re using, who you’re asking, when you’re asking, and whether Mercury is in retrograde. But there are also some basic steps to keep in mind to ease the asking for donations journey. If you want to get on the donation bandwagon but don’t know where to begin, here’s a high-level, step-by-step overview of how to ask for a donation.

  • Decide who to ask
  • Decide how to ask
  • Decide when to ask
  • Tell your story
  • Tailor your message
  • Make the ask
  • Make it easy
  • Say Thank You
  • Stay in touch

Decide who to ask.

There are current donors and prospective donors. There are first-time donors and one-time donors and major donors and minor donors. Before you do anything else, figure out who you want to ask. For a new nonprofit, that will be “everyone we’ve ever blinked at.” For an established one, it will be an audience segment. (And if you haven’t segmented out your donors yet, now’s a good time to get on that.)

Decide how to ask.

Multi-channel fundraising is the best, so as a jumping-off point, decide how you’re going to coordinate your asks across channels and where you’re going to focus your efforts. Keeping your audience in mind, choose your channel(s)—whether it’s email, phone, text, social media, or carrier pigeon.

Decide when to ask.

Timing is everything! As we always say, an imperfect ask sent at the right time will always out-raise a perfect ask sent too late. Don’t let the moment pass you by.

Tell your story.

The most successful donation requests are authentic. Ground every request in your nonprofit’s unique story, letting would-be donors know how they can play a vital role in it. If you can include real-life photos, or a heart-tugging video clip, it’ll up the impact.

Tailor your message.

Connect with your donors by customizing and personalizing your message. Nothing makes folks click “delete” faster than an email that starts with, “Hey, you!” or asks them to give when they gave one week ago. And with machine learning, personalizing the donation experience is a cinch. In fact, with Funraise’s AppealAI feature, your ask amounts are tailored to each existing donor’s preferences using signals like time of day, device type, giving history, and more. The result? Increased donation form conversion .

Make the ask.

Don’t bury your donation ask. People are short on time; they skim and get distracted. Be specific, be gracious, and highlight why you’re asking and what it will accomplish.

Make it easy.

You’ve made the ask—don’t make people search for a “donate” button. Ensure your donation process takes as little time, and as few clicks, as possible. Send them straight to your donation page, which should be informative, intuitive, and branded.

Say thank you.

You did it! But the work’s not over. Assuming your donation request was impossible to resist, you've now got some donations on your hands. Be sure to say “thank you” within 48 hours (24 is even better, but hey, we’ve all got things to do) so your new friends feel appreciated right away. It can be a thank-you email or a thank-you phone call—the important part is the thanks.

Stay in touch.

Now that you have some donors, keep the relationships going and the donations coming. Follow up by updating them on your nonprofit’s work, offering other ways to get involved, and, of course, saying thank you a few more times.

8 examples of asking for donations wording: what language to use

Nonprofit fundraising is an art, and if you want to keep the funds flowing, your words matter. Here’s what to say when asking for donations: Be clear, succinct, and authentic. Use “you,” say “thanks,” and be specific. Keep in mind who you’re asking and how you’re asking.

While we can’t write your fundraising email for you, we can provide some additional guidance on how to work some fundraising magic. The fact is that your words have an impact on your outcomes. Read on for our tips on the right wording to ask for donations. Then, it’s off to the typographical races!

  1. Urgent tone
  2. Clear and direct language
  3. Great subject lines
  4. Optimistic spirit
  5. Big Thank You
  6. Focus on the “You”
  7. Action verbs
  8. Data and numbers

1. Make it urgent.

Giving now is better than giving later, so make sure your language reflects that. By creating a sense of urgency, potential donors won’t put off their donations. Use words like “now” and “today,” and then explain why giving immediately is so important.

2. Be clear and direct.

No, we’re not suggesting that you send an email with the subject line, “Money, please!” But it’s important to be clear about why you’re asking donors to open their hearts and wallets as well as how they can help. Have a CTA right smack in the middle of that fundraising email; include a pre-stamped envelope with that direct mail appeal.

3. Craft a great subject line.

How many emails do you get each day? Yeah, us, too. To stand out from the crowd and ensure folks actually read your perfectly crafted missive, your subject line needs to sparkle. Keep it short, direct, and clear. If you can be creative, go for it. If you’re stuck, ask an AI colleague for some assistance. And please, for the love of all that is English class, don’t use all caps or more than one exclamation point. Thank youuuuu!!

4. Keep it optimistic.

You’re doing hard work, but if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, no one will want to pitch in. Donors need to know that there’s hope, so even in the darkest of times, highlight your organization's mission and be that shining light.

5. Say thank you in advance.

Gratitude is where it’s at when it comes to asking for a donation. Even if someone hasn’t given, be grateful that they’re reading your email and considering a gift. No one wants to feel that they’re being taken for granted.

6. Use "you" in your asking for a donation wording.

If you’re telling a story about your nonprofit, then you want your donors to be the heroes. Put them at the center of the action by using “you” a lot. One note: We love community-centric fundraising, so be sure to balance the “you” with some “we.” When people give back, we all benefit.

7. Use action verbs.

Just like using “you,” using action verbs lets your donors be more than bystanders tossing change at the problem. Sure, they can “donate,” but they can also “fight for the cause,” “solve the problem,” and “make an impact.”

8. Follow the numbers.

Every fundraising strategy worth its salt (what a weird expression) knows that numbers equal impact, so incorporate some data into your donation requests. How many baby chinchillas will that $100 donation help? Whoa, that’s a lot. I know where my tax return’s going.

Asking for donations wording sample

Dear [Donor Name], Today, I’m writing to ask you to support [cause]. By donating just [amount], you can [specific impact]. To donate, [specific action]. Thank you for joining [cause’s] efforts during this [adjective] time—It's supporters like you that help us change the world every day.

Okay, we probably could have supplied that last adjective for you, but it’s a bit more fun when you think of it like Mad Libs, right? Now that we’ve provided a bare-bones template for asking for donations, here’s an example with a bit more tofu on the bones. (Some of us are vegetarians here.) We’ve included more generic wording to spark inspiration; remember to dig into the details and craft donation requests that speak to your donor base.

Dear [Name],

Every week, [creative fact about your cause]. But you can change that. At [nonprofit], we [what you do]. And today, I’m writing to ask you to be a part of that.

A gift of only [amount] will [specific impact and time period]. Just click the button below to make a difference in minutes.

When you partner with [nonprofit], you effect change in our community and ensure our success in the future. [Personalize the ask as much as possible.] Thank you for caring; thank you for supporting [clients]!



Once you’ve written a categorically compelling request for donations, personalization is the name of the game. You can ask your favorite AI content generator for some help with this, taking your carefully crafted human words and tweaking them for different audience segments.

At Funraise, we encourage you to get creative and have fun with your communications, so don’t be scared to step outside the box. After all, you want to keep things to the point but make a big impression. Of course, a donation request email will be different from a text will be different from a social media post, and asking an individual is very different from asking a business. Now, we’ll get into those details.

Asking for donations by text guide

We’re going to be straight with you: Soliciting donations by text is a great idea. With a 95% open rate and a 160-character limit, text-to-give is super effective and requires less of your time. Get creative with your text engagement with our text-cellent tips and tricks below.

1. Have a reason to write.

Because texts are so short, make sure your donation ask is specific (and also compelling and witty, of course). Show donors that you have a rock-solid reason for making them take their precious mobile device out of their pocket. Maybe it’s your annual appeal or maybe it’s a very special project.

2. Not too much, not too little.

No one likes getting out of a movie to find 20 increasingly frantic texts in a row from the same person. (“Joel, were you kidnapped? Pls write back.”) Strike a balance between over- and under-asking by communicating regularly and balancing urgency and information.

3. Do more than ask.

Yes, you’re looking for donations, but all donations are built on donor relationships. Don’t only write to ask for money or your texts will soon be blocked. Send success stories to give supporters warm-and-fuzzy feelings. Let them know if you’re holding a fun event. And, of course, pipe up if their credit card is expiring.

4. Know your voice.

Just because a text is short doesn’t mean your words matter less. In fact, each word matters more when you have to be brief. Keep your audience in mind and don’t be overly pushy or overly casual. You know your nonprofit organization and you know your donors, so you do you.

5. Make it personal.

Brevity isn’t an excuse to be rude, so make sure your texts have the same personal touch as your emails and direct mailings. If that sounds time-consuming, fear not: Because Funraise’s text engagement features connect with your donor CRM, personalized and branded texts are par for the mobile course.

6. Keep it short.

Don’t let your text asks spill into five different messages, popping up one after the other. If you write 160 characters or less, it’s way more likely your donation ask will actually be read. And that means it’s fine to send details separately. Feel free to follow up with an email donation appeal that provides additional information.

7. Get the timing right.

In addition to not sending a text message every day, show respect for people’s sleep patterns, vacation schedules, and time zones. Not everyone remembers to turn on “do not disturb,” and no one wants to be woken up at 5:00 am with a text message asking for money.

8. Keep the conversation going.

Someone’s responded to your text solicitation with a generous donation—huzzah, hurray! The best way to stay connected and keep the gifts coming is an immediate reply, so get back to your donors ASAP. If you use a platform like Funraise, you can set customized, automated replies to ensure no gift goes unnoticed and no message unanswered.

But remember: the donation request experience doesn’t end with a text. You want the entire mobile donation experience to be quick, seamless, easy-breezy. As such, you’ll want to spend some quality time with your mobile donation form, too. You want a form that’s branded, intuitive, powerful, and, most of all, highly converting. And you can bet Funraise’s mobile donation forms check all those boxes—no matter how small the screen.

How to ask for donations on social media

To get donations on social media, post regularly, use real images, and add relevant hashtags. For direct asks, link to your campaign site and add a donation button. Birthday fundraisers are popular. And don’t just ask for money—use social media to update, inform, and engage your supporters.

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with social media. We love the kittens in tutus and the renovated kitchens; we hate the FOMO and the constant barrage of information (and misinformation). But the siren call of social media platforms always lures us back, and that’s why you need to know how to ask for donations online. Next, we’ll cover how to write social media donation posts for all your favorite channels.

Wanna get a head start? Try Funraise's free social post generator, AppealAI. Much like a five-finger discount, this feature just requires five fields and is free. Unlike a five-finger discount, though, AppealAI won't land you in jail.

How to ask for donations on Facebook

If you’re asking for donations on Facebook, you can link to your donation page through a post, ask your supporters to hold Facebook Fundraisers, or encourage direct donations on your nonprofit’s Facebook page. All of these options make it easy for donors to give to your cause in one click.

Because Facebook offers options aplenty when it comes to online fundraising, you can pick and choose based on your specific needs. Below, we’ll show you how to Facebook fundraise your face off.

1. Ask for donations on your page.

Facebook lets registered nonprofits add a direct donation link to their page. A shiny donate button appears right in your header, so that supporters can click to donate any time the urge strikes.

2. Try some peer-to-peer fundraising.

Social media is all about community (and ads for same-day cookie delivery. Wait, is that just us?), so tap into said community by having supporters collect donations on your behalf. They can post birthday or anniversary fundraisers to their profiles, share it with friends and family members, and even pledge to match every dollar raised.

3. Link to individual campaign pages in posts.

You can also add a donate button to any post as a subtle (or not-so-subtle) nudge. For example, if you’re running a big campaign and providing periodic updates on progress toward your fundraising goal, a donate button on each post just might put you over the edge.

4. Do a live video.

Facebook Live lets you connect with your supporters by showing them your beautiful face in real time—with or without filters. You can ask for a donation, add a donate button, and/or link to your fundraiser page!

5. Make a stand-alone fundraising page.

In addition to your nonprofit organization's Facebook page, you can create a dedicated fundraising page to meet a specific fundraising goal.

How to ask for donations on Instagram

If you’re asking for donations on Instagram, you can add a button to your profile, post on Instagram stories, or go live with your donation request. You can also get your community involved by having them start an Instagram fundraiser for your cause as a post or 24-hour story.

Instagram is Facebook’s sleeker, cooler cousin, and more and more users are switching their social media allegiance these days. (Yeah, we know they’re all Meta now). If you want to make some Insta-solicitations, try the fundraising tools below.

1. Get support on your profile.

Get insta(nt) support by adding a “Support” button to your Instagram profile. With one click, supporters can send you a direct online donation or create a fundraiser on your behalf.

2. Encourage your followers to fundraise for you.

Instagram makes it super easy to create fundraisers in support of a good cause. Users can start a fundraiser from their own profile or from any nonprofit’s verified Instagram page. But a lot of folks don’t know these easy options exist! Your mission, should you choose to accept it: spread the word.

3. Ask for donations with Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories last 24 hours, providing a perfect opportunity to run a 24-hour campaign. Your super-generous supporters can also post stories in support of your organization by adding a donation sticker.

4. Make a live donation request.

Take your fundraising show on the road with a live donation drive. Be sure to build momentum through regular Stories and posts, then start a live video for some face-to-face fundraising (or selfie-to-selfie fundraising) fun.

5. Broaden your reach with Instagram Reels.

While your Stories are only visible to your committed followers, Instagram Reels—which last a mere 60 seconds or less—are open to the public. Start or share a fundraiser in your next short and snappy video to reel in some new supporters.

How to ask for donations on the metaverse

If you’re a nonprofit plugged into the metaverse, you’re ahead of the fundraising curve. In the future, you’ll be able to hold virtual events and advertise on virtual billboards. For now, stay on top of new developments, form relationships, and help shape a more inclusive and altruistic cyber-world.

And if you’re not so sure about this whole metaverse thing (and wondering if it’s actually the matrix)? We get it, and we’re definitely not the experts. But a lot of folks think it’s the next frontier of cyberspace—and that means nonprofits should get in early. The metaverse is made up of multiple digital worlds and is an amalgamation of all sorts of techy treats, from VR and AR to NFTs and crypto. It’s kinda an amorphous blob right now, but in a way, that’s exciting. The future is now, fundraisers, so get those avatars ready and make it great.

1. Start learning.

When you research nonprofits and the metaverse, there’s not a heck of a lot there. But these are the earliest of days, friend. If you’re wondering how to ask for a donation in the metaverse, start by getting to know it. If you can’t afford the hardware, don’t sweat it. Read some articles and watch some YouTube videos.

2. Keep learning.

Once you’ve grasped the meta-basics, keep going. Stay on top of new developments so you can jump on any opportunities that present themselves.

3. Make the metaverse better.

We all know that the internet can be kinda-sorta toxic, and there are already hints of sexism, racism, xenophobia, and all that incredibly unpleasant jazz on the metaverse. But it’s still in its nascency, so you have the chance to actually have an impact and change it! Advocate, infiltrate, and fight the good fight so that this next iteration of the internet is more equitable, kinder, and better.

4. Consider the possibilities.

With augmented reality (AR), you can give supporters around the world a live tour of the school they’ve helped fund. Would-be fur-parents can “hold” their new dog. You can get cryptocurrency donations and hold an NFT auction as a fundraising event. The metaverse holds a myriad of possibilities—for now, keep your eyes open, and explore this new space.

How to ask for donations for a fundraiser

Spoiler alert: At Funraise, we’re all about fundraisers. A fundraiser is the perfect way to tap into your devoted donor base and raise money for your cause. If you're wondering how to ask for donations for a fundraiser, here's the answer: there’s no one way to ask for donations! So peruse some fundraising ideas and fundraising events (Funraise has got plenty!) and choose a few that click with your cause, availability, and budget. Let’s review the basics.

  • Ask across channels
  • Have a clear “Why”
  • Create urgency
  • Make giving easy
  • Follow up

Ask across channels.

Maximize your reach by asking for donations across multiple channels, including social media platforms, fundraising letters, fundraising emails, text engagement, and phone calls. When it comes to fundraisers, the more, the merrier.

Be clear on the why.

Your fundraiser messaging needs to highlight why you’re holding this fundraising campaign. Why now? Who are the beneficiaries? What will be the impact of donors’ dollars? Tell a compelling story, clearly and authentically.

Create some urgency.

No fundraiser lasts forever, so let your supporters know why they need to donate to your fundraising campaign stat. Everyone has a lot on their plate these days, so a little procrastination can lead to a lot of lost revenue.

Make it easy to give.

Giving to a fundraiser should be as easy as possible. Your donate button should be prominently displayed, and your donation form should take less than a minute to fill out. It should be a snap to sign up for a recurring gift. And if you’re having a fundraising event, you should have mobile readers to take credit cards—and IT support in case something’s not working.

Follow up after.

Your fundraiser is over, but your work isn’t. Once a fundraiser ends, you have the opportunity to turn new donors into recurring donors and dedicated supporters. Send an update, say thank you, and stay in touch. That fundraiser could be just the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

How to ask for donations from businesses

Asking for donations from businesses is different from approaching individual donors. First, decide if you’re asking local businesses or larger corporations. Find a point of contact, fill out any necessary forms, and make your case. Then, let your appreciation be known, and remember to follow up.

Here’s the thing: Whether they’re shining their image or genuinely generous, a lot of companies have a lot of moolah to give to nonprofit organizations. So, if you can partner with a business or five on your fundraising initiatives, you can develop a delightfully symbiotic relationship that can last for many years.

But as we said, companies are not people, so it stands to reason that your nonprofit needs a different approach when it comes to asking businesses for donations. Every business has its own processes, so you’ll need to do your own research beforehand. In the meantime, here’s our HR-approved advice on how to ask for donations from businesses. (Disclaimer: we didn’t actually talk to HR.)

1. Determine which companies you're asking.

Big businesses have big dollars—and that means you’ll be facing big competition. Instead of asking Tesla for a donation, try connecting with local businesses. You’re all a part of the same community, so you already share a common goal: making it better. That being said, times have been tough lately. Be open to volunteering instead of direct donations, and if you do decide to turn to the big guys, get ready to fill out a lot of forms. Which brings us to our next point …

2. Go through the proper channels.

It would be great if asking for donations from businesses was like trick-or-treating, where you knock on every door, say, “Cash or check?” and walk away with a donation. Alas, it’s not that easy. Instead, you’re going to need a contact, and that means doing your research and cultivating relationships with folks in leadership. And until that relationship is rock-solid, remember that your communications should be a bit more formal (note to self: stop talking about llama fashion so much).

3. Reciprocate.

With most donations, the donor receives a warm-fuzzy feeling and a thank you in exchange for supporting a good cause. But businesses expect a bit more, often in the form of positive press. They might run a crowdfunding campaign for you and expect a feature in your newsletter, or they might sponsor a fundraising event in exchange for seeing their logo in the program. The key takeaway here is to establish expectations early on so no one is disappointed.

4. Tailor your donation request.

A small local business owner might appreciate an in-person meeting, while a big corporation might prefer a letter and properly filled-out online forms. Tailor your request and your tone to the business, just like you would with individual donors.

5. Stay in touch.

Lapsed donors are a minor tragedy, and lapsed corporate donors for nonprofits are a slightly-more-major one. Cultivate that relationship by staying in touch and letting your business buddy know about upcoming sponsorships, matching-gift opportunities, volunteer days, and more.

How to ask for a donation in an email

Here goes: Write a killer subject line or nothing else matters. Personalize the opening, ask for the donation early, and make the donation experience intuitive and quick. Weave a great story, say thank you in advance, and add some real-life images to bring it all home.

If email is your enemy, and no amount of checklists or ideas are gonna make you the email expert extraordinaire that you've always strove (strived?) to be, try Funraise's free AppealAI feature. It writes emails and social posts and is always expanding what it delivers. Just pop in a few fields and boom! Email excellence!

And there you have it! How to ask for a donation via email. Email is an excellent medium for fundraising. You have space, you have time, it’s cost-effective (AKA free), you can include images, and there’s no postage. (But P.S., we love the USPS, so send mail!). If you’re still wondering how to ask for a donation in an email, let us break it down for you.

  1. Start with the subject line
  2. Personalize the email
  3. Keep it concise
  4. Make giving easy
  5. Use words and images

1. It all starts with the subject line.

We mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: your subject line is your first impression, and you want to make it good. You can write the most exquisitely crafted email ever, but if the subject line is “hi i’m a charity and need $$$$. THX!!!!” it will go forever unread. You better work that subject line, nonprofiteer. And remember, you have an extra resource in AI, which can help you brainstorm, mix, and match titles until you achieve verbal perfection.

2. Personalize it.

The sharks in Finding Nemo knew that fish are friends, not food; you know that donors are people, not numbers. Personalize your donation emails as much as possible, using names and past donation information (psst, this is where segmenting your donor data makes a difference). BTW, with Funraise you can automate your emails AND personalize them PLUS use personalized ask strings (donation button amounts) with machine learning—check and mate and … another check? We need to play more chess.

3. Get right to the point.

Your email ask should be clear, genuine, and succinct, which means you want to ask for that donation early on. Don’t make your readers wade through paragraphs of text, wondering aloud what the heck this email is all about. Let them know exactly why you’re writing and how they can take action to make a difference.

4. Make the giving easy.

Make sure that gorgeous donate button is front and center so that no one has to search for a way to donate. You can also link to your donation page as well as provide a number and address for offline donations—and every one of these giving options should take a mere two seconds to find.

5. Use words and images.

Unlike texts, emails give you the space to tell a story. So, tell a really good one. Highlight your mission, include real photos, and emphasize how your reader can be a part of this meticulously crafted tale—giving it a very happy ending indeed.

Donation messages examples

Now that you’re an expert on how to ask for donations, you’re probably wondering what it actually looks like IRL. As you can imagine, it depends on who you’re asking, how you’re asking, and your nonprofit’s special sauce. When it comes to crafting donation messages, we encourage you to do some finger stretches, have a triple caramel macchiato, and unleash your inner Hemingway. (Scratch that; he’d probably write a terrible donation request.) If you’re still feeling stuck, here are some donation messages examples for inspiration.

Examples of how to ask for donations on social media

When it comes to asking for donations on social media, cover your bases by covering all the major channels. For example, if you craft a great donation ask for Facebook, you can tweak it to work with Instagram (focus on the image) and Twitter (160 characters for the win).

And this is where AI really finds its stride (in a totally non-sentient way). Not in writing novellas or painting pictures (leave that to the artists, please and thank you), but in repurposing content you’ve written for different channels. Just take that post, pop it into your AI content creator of choice, and ask it to work its (deeply technical) magic. It can also put a different spin on your social posts so that you have plenty o’ content for the weeks ahead. Thanks, robots!

Beyond the big three, use YouTube if you have compelling videos and LinkedIn if your donation request is also kind of a think piece? It could happen. For now, we’ll review the basics with these examples of how to ask for donations on social media.

Example of how to ask for donations on Facebook

[Include a relevant image—in this case, a desk with a very snazzy orchid on it].

Sean’s desk was looking a little drab during his daily Zoom meetings, so we bought him this brassavola orchid. Isn’t it gorgeous? You can help struggling home-office workers like Sean spiff up their workspaces. If you give today, $10 can buy an orchid for a desk in need. #anorchidaday

Example of how to ask for donations on Instagram

[Include a relevant video—in this case, a kangaroo named Carla, wearing a hat and jumping up and down].

This is Carla. As you can tell, she is SO excited. If you want all kangaroos to be as happy as Carla, you can give to our annual #jumpbuddies campaign, which provides fashionable hats for kangaroos that need a little more pep in their step.

Example of how to ask for donations on Twitter

Bagels are more than lumps of gluten—and you can give them a voice. Join Bagel Allies for just $5 a month and fight for #glutenjustice.

Example of how to ask for donations on TikTok

[It’s a baby and a koala dancing to synth-pop, and they both yell, “Please give!” in Taylor Swift’s voice at the end. Wait, are we doing this right?]

How to ask for donations online examples

Here are the essentials for asking for donations online: Personalize wherever possible. Tailor your ask to the platform and person. Use images and video. Tell an important story. Connect with the user. Take your donors on a journey beyond giving. And make it simple to donate.

If you’ve got all that, you’re well on your way to successfully asking for donations online. Whether it’s asking on social media, via email blasts, or over a Slack happy hour, the internet is your online oyster, so you should feel free to experiment and explore. To get you started, here’s a basic template with suggested donation wording for returning donors. You can tailor it to your needs.

Dear [Name],

Thanks to donors like you, we’ve made remarkable progress this year—but we also have a long way to go. [Describe the progress as well as the roadblocks.]

We’ll need your voice and your generosity to continue the fight. By clicking here and giving [donation amount] today, you take action to [donor impact].

We are so grateful for your continued partnership, advocacy, and commitment as we [nonprofit mission]. Thank for all that you do for [client, cause, etc.].



“Please donate” message example

At the heart of every donation request is a “please donate” message. If you want to get right down to it, here’s your starter kit for a genuine, no-frills message.

Dear [Name],

Right now, we’re facing [current challenge]. We need just [donation amount] more to meet our goal and [impact].

Please donate to [cause] today to ensure we have the strength to [impact]. Just click below and select an amount. Only $5 lets us [small impact].

Thank you for everything you do. We couldn’t do this without you.

All the best,


Donation email example

Once you’ve written an incredibly compelling, convincing, and successful donation request email, you’ll need to write a great thank you email (and send it off quickly). Here’s a donation email example for following up with donors. Remember that personalization is particularly important here!

Dear [Name],

Thank you so much for your recent donation to [cause’s] vital work. Your generous gift of [donation amount] will be put to use right away, [description of impact of gift].

Each and every day, we work to [description of nonprofit’s work]. You’re a part of all of this, and with your donation, you’re already making a difference.

Thank you for everything you do. If you have an questions or concerns, please reach out at any time at [contact information]. We look forward to partnering in the months, and years, ahead.

All the best,


More donation message ideas

If you don’t already have inspiration overload, we have a few more donation message ideas up our digital sleeve.

Donation message with a quote

Try opening your message with a relevant quote. You can keep it lighthearted with something silly, or you can choose one that really resonates emotionally. For example, LA Family Housing paired real client portraits with quotes for max impact.

A smiling woman sits to the left of a quote on a background of trees.

Giving Tuesday donation message

If you opt in to Giving Tuesday, you’ll want to craft your donation messages carefully and well in advance. For example, The People Concern’s donation messaging for Giving Tuesday included a week-long countdown with supporter stories and a #5ReasonstoGive hashtag.

A quote about homelessness sits on a picture of a person living in a tent.

Interactive donation message 

Get donors involved and invested in your cause by creating an interactive donation experience. For example, charity: water created a quiz for their donation campaign to demonstrate the urgency of their cause.

A donation ask in the form of a quiz on a blue background: "Which item does one-third of the world's population live without?"

Tips for Personalizing Donation Request Letters

By now, you've probably picked up on some key themes when it comes to optimizing your fundraising efforts through a donation request letter. Whether you're writing fundraising appeals or follow-up emails, you need to Personalize. Those. Asks! Can I get an "amen" up in here?

You see, everyone has their own wants, needs, motivations, and starburst flavor preferences (pink and red FTW!). If you want to make a personal connection with each and every donor, you need to meet them where they are with personal emails and tailored messaging. In fact, tailoring your communications to your target audience is so important that we wrote a comprehensive guide to personalization and nonprofits

If you don't feel like leaving the warm, comforting embrace of this URL, we're here for you. Here are our top tips for personalizing your donation letters to individual supporters.

1. Identify the variables.

At its most basic, personalization requires you to identify a few key elements and ensure they're accurate for each donor. We're talking name and location—that's it! Once you've gotten those core elements taken care of, you can up-level your personalization game. That means you need to ...

2. Talk about your history.

With the basics taken care of, you want to give a nod to your donor's incredible history with your organization. That means striking an emotional connection by highlighting the positive impact of that last major gift or including a quick note about the special event they attended last June. 

3. Consider method of outreach.

Your donor CRM should be chock full of helpful personalization info, including how each donor prefers to receive a donation request letter. (If not, it's time to send some donor surveys to that email list!) Some folks love opening a physical letter, while others are all about that e-blast. Whether your donation request letter is going to a mailing list or an email address, what matters is that you're paying attention.

4. Do your research when it comes to prospective donors.

While you know all the things about your current audience of supporters, what about attracting new donors? For potential donors and one-time gift givers, you'll need to do a little research. Check the spelling of their name, their job/workplace, the other charitable organizations they currently support, and whether they have a history of charity work. Now, you have a jumping-off point that should keep your donation request letter out of the recycling bin.

More Sample Donation Request Letters

"Hold up!" you exclaim. "After those tips, I know that my donation request letters need to make a personal connection. I need a sample donation request letter that's tailored to my unique situation." You've got us there, nonprofiteer. Here are some example emails to reach any member of your donor base for those special fundraising moments.

Sample Corporate Donation Request Letter

Subject: Be a Catalyst for [Impact]

Dear [Corporate Contact],

Businesses like [business name] are a vital part of our community, and we rely on you to make our work possible. While we’ve made remarkable progress this year, we still have a long way to go. [Describe the progress as well as the roadblocks.]

We’ll need your voice and your generosity to continue the fight. By donating [amount] today, you take action to make a lasting impact on [cause] while also benefiting your company through [specific benefit].

We are so grateful for your continued partnership as we [mission]. Thank for all that you do for [client, cause, etc.].



Event Sponsorship Request Letter to a Business

Subject: Join the Celebration: Support [Event Name] as a Sponsor!

Dear [Corporate Contact],

[Fundraising event] is just around the corner, and we would love to include your organization as an event sponsor. Nearly [number of guests] are expected to join us for a festive and fulfilling [event type], highlighting [your organization's mission and impact].

Businesses like yours are a vital part of our community, and we rely on you to make our work possible. Our sponsors move us closer to [your vision].

This year, we're offering several sponsorship packages, each with its own benefits. You can learn more about our event at [hyperlink to event page], and you can review sponsorship options in the attached sponsorship packet.

We are so grateful for your partnership, advocacy, and commitment as we [nonprofit mission]. We look forward to seeing you on [event date]!



Matching Gift Request Letter to a Major Donor

Subject: Double Your Impact, Inspire Your Community

Dear [Name],

Since [year], you've been an essential member of our community, allowing us to [impact]. But while we’ve made remarkable progress this year, we still have a long way to go. [Describe the progress as well as the roadblocks.]

Today, I'm reaching out to share an exciting opportunity for you to amplify your impact and inspire our community through a matching gift. By participating, you can double the impact of our supporters' generous contributions, ensuring [impact on your cause].

Your voice and your generosity have long been integral to our work. By pledging [amount] to a matching gift program today, you take action to make a lasting impact on [cause]. If you're interested in discussing this opportunity further, please call me at [contact].

We are so grateful for your continued partnership, advocacy, and commitment as we [nonprofit mission]. Thank for all that you do for [client, cause, etc.].



Gift Request Letter to a Company

Subject: Double Your Impact, Inspire Your People

Dear [Corporate Contact],

Businesses like yours are a vital part of our community, and we rely on you to make our work possible. While we’ve made remarkable progress this year, we still have a long way to go. [Describe the progress as well as the roadblocks.]

Today, I'm reaching out to share an exciting opportunity for your company to amplify your impact and inspire your employees through a matching gift program. By participating, you can double the impact of your employees' generous contributions, ensuring [impact on your cause].This program also enhances [company's] corporate social responsibility efforts and showcases your dedication to making a real difference in our community.

By pledging [amount] to a matching gift program today, you take action to make a lasting impact on [cause] while establishing [company] as a leader in corporate philanthropy. If you're interested in discussing this opportunity further, please call me at [contact].

We are so grateful for your continued partnership as we [mission]. Thank for all that you do for [client, cause, etc.].



Advanced ask pointers for every nonprofit

That was pretty helpful, but what about those situations that are specific to your nonprofit and only your nonprofit? After all, there's a huge difference between asking for a donation for a zombat (zebra wombat) animal shelter and asking for one for your time-travel pre-enactment museum. Here, we're sharing advanced tips for your nonprofit, in full recognition of your uncommon spirit.

Sports teams

  • Offer exclusive experiences. Appeal to fans' love for the team (or parents' love for their children) by offering unique experiences or merchandise as donation incentives. 
  • Highlight community impact. Share personal stories about how the team positively impacts the community and emphasize how donations support these efforts.

Food donations

  • Partner with local businesses. Don't forget to reach out to local restaurants, grocery stores, and businesses that may be willing to donate excess food or sponsor food drives.
  • Volunteers need request letters, too! Ask volunteers to help at an upcoming event or pitch in with a monetary donation. Always emphasize that volunteering is just as important (maybe more so!) than donating money.

Theaters (or theatres!)

  • Make an emotional appeal. The theater is all about storytelling, so remind people of the transformative nature of theater. Share anecdotes or testimonials from those whose lives you've touched, and convey how theater entertains, educates, and fosters a sense of community.
  • It's all about those perks. Encourage theater donations by offering donors special benefits, such as VIP access to rehearsals or opportunities to meet the cast and crew. 


  • History and culture are crucial. In our troubled times, we have a lot to learn from the past, so highlight that point. Museums preserve artifacts, promote education, and foster a sense of cultural identity, helping us learn from history.
  • Again, it's perks for the win. Encourage donations by offering donors free or discounted museum memberships, exclusive invitations to exhibition openings, or VIP behind-the-scenes tours. 

Animal shelters

  • Use those photos. Your animals are adorable, so share those photos far and wide so everyone can see those pleading eyes. Who can resist?!
  • Share heartwarming stories. The world is tough, but happy-ending stories of rescued and rehabilitated animals are a ray of sunshine. Appeal to potential donors' compassion and turn those happy tears into impactful funds.


  • Connect with the community. Emphasize the church's role in providing spiritual guidance, support, and a sense of belonging. Share personal stories of how donations have enabled the church to positively impact people's lives.
  • Lean into the gratitude. Remind donors that their contributions are essential to carrying out your mission and serving the congregation. Highlight the importance of collective giving and the power of generosity. 


  • Make it personal. Most people give to schools because they attended or they have a loved one who's attending. Personalize your asks to reference the reason behind their gift.
  • Harken back to the good ol' days. Nostalgia is a great incentive to give, so remind donors about how education impacted their life, highlighting how their contributions help shape young minds and give others the wonderful experiences they had.

Youth organizations

  • The children are our future. Highlight personal growth and development by sharing how donations positively impact young people's lives. That means lots of success stories and hopeful anecdotes.
  • Offer involvement opportunities. Don't stop at asking for donations. Encourage potential donors to actively engage with your youth organization by offering mentorship programs, guest speaking opportunities, or volunteer options. 

Additional Email Advice for Nonprofits from Nonprofit Email Experts

We've got three of the industry's best email consultants, marketers, and donor whisperers with advice to make sure you're successful before you even start. 

Speaking of starting, let's dive in with Karen Hopper, a data strategist and nonprofit consultant-turned-performance strategist and marketer. Back in 2021, on the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast, Karen reminded us that communication doesn't happen in a bubble:

...the same people who are receiving your email, who are going to your website, who are checking out through your donation form, they're also using websites like Amazon. They're shopping for their stuff on Etsy. ...they have certain expectations for how easy the online shopping and online browsing experience should be.

In taking-action-terms, what this means is that nonprofits need to take a hard look at how easy or difficult it is to navigate their website and donate, especially from our phones. Being able to donate with a swipe or a fingerprint is going to become more important as our economy goes digital.

John Walsh, Director of Annual Giving at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, calls email "the complete package." On an episode of the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast, John boils it down:

We found that people give more if they receive multichannel communication, even if they only give through one channel. So even if you're not using it as a fundraiser, you need to be emailing because it's a complete package.

John's point is that we're a noisy society. And the more touchpoints you can create for people, the more they'll reach out.

Finally, Katelyn Whitaker, nonprofit email marketing expert, and consultant to Trevor Project, UNHCR, and Amnesty International, spoke about email fundraising campaigns on the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast. Here are her top three reasons nonprofit fundraisers should be using email:

People are giving you their email address and saying, "I want to hear from you via email." And there's actually studies out there that prove that people prefer to be communicated with via email. So it doesn't feel very intrusive, like social media or digital advertising can.
On top of that, it has the highest ROI, so you can send out a message to a mass email, one to many, and reach a lot of people at one time. And especially with organizations who are addressing emergencies, you don't have to get a letter printed out and sent via snail mail. You can actually reach out to people right away for support and to update them.
And then the third thing is you own your list, so your email list is very valuable. These are people that you can connect with, and the email list grows over time. And you always have those email addresses, whereas on social media, if Meta had some huge emergency and closed down tomorrow...

These are some of the most knowledgeable email experts in the nonprofit industry. They understand donor behavior and activity inside and out—so listen and act and email with confidence!

Final points on how to ask people to donate

While your nonprofit’s main job is fighting hard for your cause, you need to know how to ask people to donate if you’re going to have the funds to make a difference. We encourage you to get out there and ask for donations in as many ways as possible to find what works best for you.

  • No matter how great a job your nonprofit is doing, it means nothing without the ability to tell your story. Use words and images to convey your mission, history, and goals to would be donors, and let that story ground all your donation requests.
  • When asking for donations, keep your audience in mind at all times. Your audience decides how you ask and when you ask.
  • Developing brand voice guidelines is a great way to improve your donation requests. A strong brand presence and voice ensures consistency and authenticity.
  • Don’t make every communication a request for funding. You should cultivate relationships by also sending regular updates, event information, volunteer opportunities, and success stories.
  • Data and real-life examples will bolster your case. Share the numbers and share your successes to make your requests more relatable.
  • Technology is your friend, so don’t shy away from ML and AI and any other helpful acronyms to personalize your asks, streamline your workflows, and ease your stress.
  • Finally, don't take yourself too seriously! No one ask strategy is going to work on everyone, so try 'em all and keep an open mind.

Here are the essentials for asking for donations online: Personalize wherever possible. Tailor your ask to the platform and person. Use images and video. Tell an important story. Connect with the user. Take your donors on a journey beyond giving. And make it simple to donate.

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