7 Rules for Designing Effective Fundraising Letters

by | Apr 14, 2016

Art + Science = Success

At Graphcom, we joke that fundraising letters are part art, part science. Sure, your fundraising letters have to “look good,” but they should also be designed strategically to get noticed and get opened, then entice people to read the important parts of the letter and take action.

No pressure, right?

So, what should you know before you design and mail your next fundraising letter?

7 Rules Every Artist and Scientist Should Follow

1. Use at Least 12 pt. Serif Font for Body Text

Serif fonts are easier to read for older eyes, especially at smaller sizes. The “feet” create illusionary lines that help guide the reader across each line of text.

Some sources even say that “14 is the new 12” as baby boomers are aging, and they’re often the core donor demographic. So, serifs are best for body copy, and sans serif fonts work best for headlines and subheads.

2. Add Extra Space Between Short Paragraphs

Indent paragraphs or use ample space between paragraphs to give your reader’s eyes a rest. Break content into smaller portions when possible. This makes content easier to digest.

3. Bold Important Information Only

Bold only small bits of information so even if the reader skims your letter, they’ll have a good sense of what’s being said—and what you want them to do.

4. Incorporate Images and Graphics

These add visual interest and help break up content even more. Infographics are always a plus as they help inform the reader while acting as a visual treat.

5. Opt for Images of Happy, Healthy People

Always use images of people, not buildings or equipment. Happy, healthy people have a higher response rate than photos of sick or sad people, too.

Think of it this way—your donors want to see the results of their donations. Photos of happy, healthy people give them an optimistic outlook on how far their dollars can really go.

6. White Space is Your Friend

Give the eye a place to rest while drawing attention to the most important part of the letter—your content! Generous white space is an indicator of pleasing design and a clean asthetic.

7. Use the Writer’s Actual Signature in Blue Ink

The signer should be a person whose name the donors will recognize—someone with clout and authority. The more personal the letter, the better the chance you have to receive a gift.

Want to see these best practices in action? Check out a fundraising letter we designed for Frederick Memorial Hospital that earned nearly $3 for every $1 spent!


Looking for results like these? Give us a call at 800-669-1664 or click here to speak to our healthcare marketing team.
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