7 Power Tips to write a compelling letter to ask for support
At one point or another when fundraising your Actyvate project, you will have to write a letter to ask for support. Now, it could be an email as well, but the format and psychology behind writing a compelling one remain the same, which is what we will be covering in today’s post/email.
#1. Identify the decision makers
Firstly, this is a critical step. You have to understand that instead of writing out one generic letter and send it out to a thousand people (that’s called Spray & Pray, BTW), it’s way more effective if you target a few key decision makers and just write to them. This way, your letter can be highly personalized, from their personality to their preferences, making it way more effective. It also showed that you are invested in the relationship and your professionalism.
#2. Stalk them on their social media accounts
Thanks to the internet, it’s a lot easier to stalk someone. Check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and all other social media platforms you can think of. Take note of their preferred past times (likes sports, traveling, cafe-hopping etc), heart-tuggers (their pets, loved ones), but do not use it against them. They make great conversation starters when you eventually talk to them, and if it’s relevant to your project, you can link it to the letter/email.
On the professional front, look out for places they have worked at, or publications they have written, or even awards they have won. Those information will allow you to make better connections, so that you can angle your proposition in a way that is familiar and relatable to them.
#3. Identify their personality
With a cutting-edge (and free) tool like Crystalknows, you will be able to identify the personality of your target prospects, based on their writing. The app will let you know if the person like the information to be direct and objective, or prefers casualness in the conversation, based on the psychometric assessment of their writing.
Just like all tools, it’s not 100% accurate, but any information right now is useful for you considering the fact that you have not the chance to meet and get to know them yet.
#4. Personalised your content
Once you know more about your prospects, here’s where you need to line up your content to make it compelling to them. Link your points with their past and personal experiences, or align your project objectives with the causes they believed in. In other words, show them what they want to see, and make it easier for them to understand what you’re doing, and also to make a decision.
#5. Show track record of what you/your team has done
Let’s face it: at this point, you are still strangers to your prospects. They don’t know who you are.
Which is where you and your team’s track records come in handy! It’s not about boasting, but tell them what you have done to demonstrate credibility. Reference them to your past projects, or even your LinkedIn profiles (make sure that they are polished and updated first).
#6. Name throw if you have to
Some may feel this is an uncomfortable gesture, so don’t do it if you don’t feel like it. But if you are okay with mentioning a few people that can vouch for your character, or whom you have the privilege of working with before, it will help establish your credibility and authority in the space as well. If it makes you feel any better, you can inform the person whom you’ll be mentioning their names too, as a polite gesture.
#7. Clean formatting
Regardless of their personality (in #3), most people are too busy to go through chunks of text, no matter how detail-oriented they are. Keep your messages short and straight to the point, and use bullet points if you have to. Leave good spacing between sentences and paragraphs so it’s easier for your prospects to skim through the contents.
If you’re sending an email, you can opt to link them to more information on your website, a video, or perhaps an attachment (though we wouldn’t recommend one that is too big in file size to avoid them being stuck in the spam box).
BONUS: Automate your follow-ups at the right time
You will need to follow up with your prospects after the letter or email, and a good time is when they, or their company, are in the news. Set up a Google Alert on their names, and their company names, so that whenever they hit the news, or when they are mentioned over the internet, you get a heads up to follow up with them. Psychologically, it’s proven that when someone knows they are in the media, they are more open to talk to strangers, because they, too, would appreciate a “pat on the back” or a simple congratulations.
With these quick-fire tips, you are now equipped with the right skills to produce a compelling letter to win some support for your projects. Remember, if you failed in the first couple of times, don’t give up.
As a matter of fact, you may even ask for feedback on how you could have improved, and that will certainly impress your prospects. Who knows? They may decide to take a second look at your proposal after all.