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Fundraiser Essay

Looking at a sample fundraising letter for schools or school groups to use is always helpful. If you want to get more donations, you need to know what works for other schools and get some tips on what to say. The sample letter below is an example you can follow when soliciting corporate donations for a school or youth organization:

Sample Fundraising Letter for School



City, State Zip

Dear Contact Name:

Engaging students in math, science, and technology is one of the most important factors in creating tomorrow’s workforce.

Design and Discovery is a program that addresses this issue. Through hands-on activities, mentoring, presentations, and behind-the-scenes field trips, students discover the world of design and engineering. The participants are then challenged to identify a problem or opportunity and design a solution. Students present their designs to their peers and community in a design and engineering fair.

Design and Discovery will be offered to (number of) students from (school, club, organization) as an (after-school activity in the spring, summer camp, etc.). Participants are typically students in grades 7-9 that have expressed an interest in the program.

(insert background paragraph on presenting organization)

We would like to request (Company’s) assistance in providing this opportunity to the students of (school, club, organization, area). Your sponsorship of (amount) would be greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Sally Someone at 555-555-5555. Send email inquiries to someone@yourorganization.org.


Sally Someone
Design and Discovery Coordinator
Non-profit Youth Organization

So, there’s a sample of what you need to say in your donation letter. Be sure to read at least some of our other articles on donation request letters because the same rules that apply to non-profit fundraising appeal letters also apply to school donation letters. Below is a short list of some of our best advice on seeking donations through the mail.

More Donation Letter Writing Tips

How To Write A Fundraising Letter – Advice and tips on what works and what doesn’t when writing donation request letters.

How To Write Fundraising Letters – Here are detailed instructions on how to write great fundraising letters from salutation to postscript, including a sample letter to get you started.

Fundraising Letter Sample Template – This sample fundraising letter template offers examples of a specific method of asking for money, including providing a quick psychological justification for a positive response.

How to Write Fundraising Letters That Motivate Donors – Motivating strangers to give their money away is one of the hardest jobs around. It’s difficult to do face to face. And it’s even harder to do by mail.

Successful Fundraising Letters Share Eight Qualities – If you want your next fundraising letter to be successful and effective, there are certain nuances you must master to achieve the right results.

Don’t Start Your Fundraising Letters As A Stranger – One of the things you should never do with your fundraising letters is address them to “Dear Friend” because it can cost you literally thousands of dollars in lost donations.

Write Fundraising Letters That Donors Can’t Resist – Master copywriter Alan Sharpe offers practical advice to non-profit groups for boosting the results of your appeal letters.


In case you need some inspiration to get the creative juices flowing, here are some of our favorite fundraising ideas:


Restaurant Fundraiser:

Many local restaurants will be more than happy to host a fundraising night for you. In coordination with the restaurant, you select an evening when a portion of the proceeds will go towards your fundraising. It is usually around 10%. You advertise the date and time of the event and try to pack the restaurant with as many supporters as possible. The restaurant will usually receive a boost in customers and you will get a cut of the money, so it’s a win-win.


Keep an eye out around town for signs advertising restaurant fundraisers to get an idea of which local establishments may be willing to help out. Also check with teammates and friends to see if anyone has a connection that may help you out, and remember that usually locally owned restaurants are more likely to host a fundraising night than chain restaurants.


Make sure to specify with the restaurant in advance if you will be receiving a portion of all of the proceeds from the night, or if you will only get a portion from the customers who mention your fundraiser. If it’s the latter, you’ll want to make sure everyone who attends knows to let their server know that they’re part of the fundraiser!



Coupon Book:

An easy product to sell both at events or door-to-door is a coupon book. Ask local businesses to donate discounts on their goods or services. Try to keep in mind what your target customer might like to receive a discount on and pursue those businesses first. Examples might include restaurants, salons, sporting goods stores, and gift shops.


You will probably find that small, local shops are more likely to offer discounts, but that shouldn’t stop you from requesting coupons from larger franchises in your area. Ask to speak with the manager, be professional and polite, and you may be surprised at the generosity you receive.


Print all the coupons off together into a small coupon book. Make sure it is reasonably sized so that it can be easily carried in a purse or small backpack. Sell the coupon books at a set price and advertise their potential savings. Or, for a simpler option, you can find ready-made coupon books available for fundraisers online here. Make sure to check that your coupon books are specific to your region before ordering.



50/50 Raffle:

Sometimes people will be more willing to spend money for the chance at a big payoff than they are for a small purchase. A 50/50 raffle gives them that chance, it’s exciting, and it’s easy to coordinate.


Here’s how it works. Raffle tickets are sold at a set price, though sometimes they can be purchased at a discount if you sell them in a bundle. For example, you might say that tickets are $5 each, but that buyers can receive a discount if they purchase five for $20. At the end of the raffle a winner is randomly drawn from all tickets purchased. The winner receives 50% of the funds raised, while the organization keeps the other 50% for their fundraising.


This is a good choice if you will be hosting an event or restaurant night, since the drawing can be a dramatic part of the evening.



Selling Food or Products:

This is the most classic fundraiser and it comes in many forms. It could be a bake sale or a cookout at a popular event with high attendance, such as a sports game or school dance. Or you could set up a stand at these events to sell homemade or personalized products such as t-shirts or photo calendars.


In addition to stands, you can also sell specialty foods or products through door-to-door sales. Sometimes you can get a local store or restaurant to contribute. For example, a pizza shop that sells frozen pizzas might sell you a large bulk order at a discounted price and allow you to resell them individually for more money. It’s usually best to negotiate your rate on the bulk order, then take individual orders and collect money as you’re selling, and deliver the product after you’ve collected all orders. This way, you won’t end up with a huge amount of leftover products.



Silent Auction:

This is another way of using local generosity to your advantage. Seek donations from local stores and families to put together an auction. Large items can be auctioned off on their own, while smaller items might be grouped into baskets by category.


Popular basket themes might include Movie Night featuring an iTunes gift card and a variety of movie snacks, Spa Night featuring a home pedicure kit, nail polish and gourmet bath products, or Night Out featuring gift cards to a bowling alley or arcade and a local restaurant. Another fun item is a scratch ticket board where parents have purchased and donated scratch tickets (unscratched of course!), which are then raffled off as a set.


You may choose to hold your silent auction as an actual event with live bids recorded on a clipboard beside each item, or you may choose to host it online through a website. There are several choices for hosting through a website which can make your job easier and allow you to accept bids by credit card. The tradeoff, though, is that online auction hosts will often take a small portion of your proceeds to offset their costs. One popular online option can be found here.



Service Raffle:

You might also find success in raffling off services that your group can offer. This could be just about anything, depending on your talents. It might be a backyard clean up day including lawn mowing, gardening, weeding, and junk removal. It could be a night of live music performed by your band or a photography session or painted portrait.


Whatever your special talents are, there is probably some demand for them, and the people who are willing to support your cause will most likely appreciate your talents too. Sell raffle tickets for the chance to receive your services, then draw a winner randomly.


Once you’ve chosen which fundraising ideas to pursue, you can focus in on a target audience. If you’ll be hosting an event, your audience will generally be interested parties such as parents, members of your school community, and other supporters from your area such as coaches and tutors. Generally, anyone who you might consider inviting to support you at other school events should be on the guest list for a fundraising event.


If you’re selling a product or raffling off something, you may have even more luck reaching out to the general public. People are usually more willing to donate money when asked face-to-face, so consider going door-to-door or setting up a table in an area with heavy foot traffic. Also consider reaching out to neighbors, relatives, and parents’ co-workers.


Finally, provide incentives for your team members to support the fundraising efforts. Set goals by providing each participant with a set number of raffle tickets or products to sell. Create some friendly competition by offering a prize to the top seller or to all participants who meet a certain threshold.


Fundraising can be an intimidating task to undertake. Many students will initially feel uneasy at the idea of asking others for money. But with a little creativity most will find that offering something in exchange for a donor’s time and generosity is a rewarding and mutually beneficial experience. Through thorough budget planning, careful brainstorming and thoughtful selection of fundraising activities, you’ll have the money you need to pursue your activities in no time. Not to mention, it is a great experience to include on your college application!


To find out more about how to highlight your experiences in fundraising on your college application, check out CollegeVine’s advice on How To Write About Extracurriculars. Or, if you’re a senior who’s unsure if you should take on a fundraising project right now, check out our Dos and Don’ts of Joining New Extracurriculars Your Senior Year.

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