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Fundraising Overview

Annual Appeals

Direct Mail Efforts

Grant Writing

Major Donors

Planned Giving

Special Events

Ways To Increase Donations

Donation Tips

Why send thank you letters to donors?

Why do people respond to fundraising appeals?

Questions donors ask when getting direct mail

Why $25 Gifts Are Important


Marketing and  Public Relations

Board Resources

Starting A Nonprofit


Links & Discounts

Printing Companies

Full Color Printing

Remittance Envelopes

Offering Envelopes

Donation Receipts




Printing And Design Online

Links & Resources

Annual Appeal

The most well known direct mail campaign is the annual appeal, sometimes referred to as an annual fund, or annual campaign. The annual appeal is a direct mailing that is usually mailed just prior to Thanksgiving or in early December to promote giving near the holidays. Many organizations follow up in the spring with another appeal that is designed to show potential donors how much has been raised to date and how they still have time to help support the cause.

Appeals can run for several weeks or can go throughout the year. Appeals often have follow-up letters to non-donors listing program contributions to date to encourage further giving. Annual appeals generally start out small and grow over time, so yearly consistency is very important in building a strong campaign.

Annual appeals usually consist of the following pieces:

Some organizations send out a custom printed greeting or holiday card in an invitation envelope and then include a remittance envelope for the donor to complete and return.


Don't forget to ALWAYS send a thank you to acknowledge the donor and their donation. A standard size personalized letter in #10 envelope is best, greeting card second best, and postcard with a personal note also good. Form letters and form postcards are the least desireable as whenever you can send something personalized it sparks more giving. See why you need to send a thank-you letter.

Annual Appeal Samples

See what other organizations have done with their annual appeals. Click on a graphic for a larger view.

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Sample Letter and Envelope

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Sample Letterhead and Envelope



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