Making a funding request using a business letter can be an effective way to seek financial contributions from corporations, foundations and other potential donors. The letter should be informative, clearly state a need, and demonstrate how the donor can make a positive impact through her financial support.
Establish a Connection
Click immediately with the recipient by referencing a relevant connection. For example, note if the company is an ongoing supporter. “Your company has been a generous donor over the past 10 years, and your continued support is vital to our efforts.” If you’re seeking new funding, connect your mission with the business. “I’m writing to you today because your company is known for its financial commitment to supporting the arts in our community.”
Take advantage of professional connections, particularly if you’re sending a funding request letter to a vendor, supplier or a company that’s connected to your organization in any way. For example, if your CEO serves on the board of an organization, issue the letter directly from him. “It has been my pleasure to serve on your board for the past two years. As such, I know how important it is to the organization to support community outreach efforts and capital campaigns like this one.”
Explain the Need
Explain what the requested funds will be used for. For example, “Your contribution will allow us to subsidize after-school programs for 50 at-risk children from our community.” Tie a success story into your request, if possible. “This year’s program committee will be headed by Jane Smith, one of the first children to participate in our after-school program when it started 25 years ago. Today Jane is a flourishing small business owner who attributes much of her success to the mentoring she received in our center.”
Make the Ask
Outline what you need and when you need it. You may opt to ask for a specific amount, give the letter recipient leeway in deciding how much to donate or offer a suggested range of contribution amounts. Detail payment options, such as electronic debit, check, money order or credit card charge. State a deadline to encourage prompt response.
Businesses benefit from charitable contributions by way of public recognition. Outline how you plan to acknowledge donors for contributions. This might include recognition at a high-profile event, logo placement on promotional materials or a plaque or banner display. For example, “In return for your generosity, your company will receive podium recognition at our annual appreciation dinner, a profile page on our organization’s website and a mention in all media interviews.”
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.