Step 1: Select a charity that interests you. Make sure that you can find substantial information on the charity’s website in order to assist you with presenting actual facts. You will compose a one-page persuasive letter as a representative (marketing employee) of the charity. You are assuming this letter is sent via regular mail to local residents asking them to take action. Although you are using factual information about the needs of the charity, your work must be original (do not copy something the charity has already done). You’ll need to do research to understand exactly what your charity needs: money (donations), volunteers, food, blood donors, etc.
Step 2: Develop an objective statement. This is something that you’re making up based on what you’ve learned about the charity. Remember you are the employee representing your charity.
An objective statement will help guide you as you develop your letter.
Example: “My objective is a 25 percent increase in the number of medical doctors from California who volunteer one week a year for my favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders.”
Be very clear to select only one important outcome that is quantifiable (a dollar amount, a percentage, number of volunteers, pints of blood donated, etc.). Pursuing multiple outcomes will likely jeopardize the effectiveness of your relatively short letter.
Your objective statement should be included in the footer of your letter to inform your instructor about the purpose of the letter. In a realistic setting, you would not include your objective statement on your letter, it is for internal use.
Step 3: Writing Your Letter. View the “Sample Student Letter” below for formatting and structure.
Open your letter with a “hook” which captures the attention of your audience. See attention-getting ideas (blue side box) on page 142.
The body of your letter should build interest in your charity and address potential resistance as you convince the reader to take action. Keep in mind, this is an unsolicited message so long, wordy paragraphs will likely lose the reader’s attention.
Close with the details of how to comply with your request. BE SPECIFIC on what actions should be taken. Make it easy for your reader to respond such as providing suggested dollar amounts, giving a clear description of volunteer work, etc. Perhaps provide an incentive (gift or entry into a drawing) for the reader to respond quickly.
Examples: “Donate today at www.xyz.com by clicking on ____” “Go to www.xyz.com to sign up for a volunteer spot by ______” “Return the form attached to _____ by ______”.
Step 4: Citing your sources. You must include a reference page citing any sources you used to compose your letter. Use APA format for your reference page. For help with APA citation, go to https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/05/ (Links to an external site.)
BUSE Persuasive letter STUDENT SAMPLE-1.pdf
Checklist for Charity Letters
Is the target audience clear in the objective statement?
Does the â€œhookâ€ work to retain the readerâ€s attention?
What type of appeal is used – emotional or rational? Is the appeal effective/appropriate?
What technique is used to capture the reader’s attention?
Is a central selling point emphasized?
Does the letter emphasize reader benefits?
How well does the letter build interest in the product or service?
How well does the letter anticipate reader resistance and offer counterarguments?
What action is to be taken and how is the reader motivated to act?
What motivators spur the reader to act quickly?
Are sentences less than 20 words long?
Are paragraphs less than eight lines?
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