Direct Mail

Weak direct mail appeals don’t get read. Here’s how Karen beefed up an appeal for a not-for-profit medical clinic:

Before. . .   After. . .
Dear Friends,What is Passion? Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a powerful feeling.” That is precisely how I feel about the Free Clinic. I have a powerful feeling about how the Clinic has changed the lives of thousands of people and their families in our community.As a volunteer at the Clinic and a former Board Chairman, I have seen first-hand the difference that expert medical care, medications and dental care can make in the lives of its uninsured patients. This is all accomplished by the unselfish volunteer hours of hundreds of medical professionals and lay people, the dedication of our Clinic staff.The Free Clinic provides high quality services free of charge to those in need. The need for these services never stops as our patient population continues to grow with the expansion of our community.The Clinic relies on contributions from our community to provide these services. For every $1.00 donated to the Free Clinic, it provides $6.50 in health care – over $4.1 million in free care last year alone. Your contributions are well spent.But we need your help. The Free Clinic has outgrown its current home.  Through the generosity of the Hospital Foundation, a parcel of land has been made available to construct a new facility to house the Free Clinic. The Clinic also needs an operating fund to ensure its future viability.

The Hospital Foundation Board has developed a plan to raise $15 million dollars over the next five years – $5 million to construct and equip a new facility to house the Clinic; and, $10 million to provide a perpetual fund to ensure the long-term viability of the Clinic. The funds will generate investment income to help support the operational needs of the Clinic.  These funds will allow the Clinic to continue its high quality service to our medically underserved.

As you read the following information, I hope that you can feel my passion and it will instill in you a similar passion to support this outstanding community resource.  Please join me in making a generous pledge over the next five years to help the Campaign to benefit the Free Clinic reach its $15 million goal.

What a wonderful tribute for the Free Clinic and our community to know that our friends and neighbors generously contribute to the long-term success of our free Clinic!

“We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegal

Dear Friends,

Whenever I reflect on how thousands of families’ lives have been changed by the Free Clinic, it never fails to renew my passion.

As a volunteer at the Clinic and a former Board Chairman, I have seen first-hand the immeasurable value that expert medical care, medications and dental care have in the lives of uninsured patients. These services are selflessly provided by hundreds of volunteer medical professionals and lay people, and through the dedication of our Clinic staff.

The Free Clinic’s primary mission is to furnish free, high-quality medical services to those in need. Unfortunately, as our community thrives, this need continues to grow.

We rely on contributions to finance our services. Let me assure you it is money well managed and well spent.

  • Every $1.00 donated to the Free Clinic provides $6.50 in health care.
  • Last year alone, over $4.1 million in free care was provided.

Today we need your help more than ever. The Free Clinic has outgrown its current home. Thanks to the Hospital Foundation, we have land for a new, larger Clinic. To ensure its future, we also need an operating fund.

The Hospital Foundation Board plans to raise $15 million over the next five years to accomplish these goals. $5 million is earmarked for the new Clinic’s construction and additional medical equipment. $10 million will be set aside in a perpetual fund. Investment income the funds generate will help support the Clinic’s operation, allowing it to continue providing high-quality care to our medically underserved neighbors.

As you read the enclosed information, I hope it ignites your passion to support this outstanding community resource. Please join me in making a generous pledge over the next five years to The Free Clinic Campaign and help it reach its $15 million goal.

The staff and patients of The Free Clinic could hope for no greater honor than your promise to help make their long-term success possible.

“We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task.”                Henry James

Here’s a fundraising letter for an international child welfare organization:

Dear ______,

I’ve heard thousands of children’s stories in my years with the Fund. They’ve taught me poverty is the same no matter where you grow up. When you don’t have life’s necessities, it’s impossible to imagine a better life.

Things don’t change until people like you decide to make a difference. It doesn’t require grand gestures. Communities in need will thrive if we all contribute just a little.

…Marie in Sawulia, Sierra Leone, has lived with her grandmother since she was 2, when her father died. They survive by selling firewood Marie gathers. They light their mud house and cook with oil from the palm kernels Marie collects. They can’t afford rice, so they live mostly on cassava…

This existence sounds heartbreaking, but Marie says, “I am a happy child because I am in school. I believe that I have a promising future…the sky is the limit I have set for myself.”

Thanks to the Fund and you, Marie is in the 5th grade. She shows promise in math, science, and religious moral education. She even speaks some English. Marie wants to be a nurse because people in her village die before they can travel three kilometers to the nearest health center.

So, when the poverty seems overwhelming, I think of children like Marie. We have given her a big dream—and the ability to achieve it—so she can grow up strong and help her community.

Our Learning Forever fund makes these changes possible. Each year, the Fund devotes 45% of its total budget to education and child development. This year, we need to raise $1,208,400 by June 30 to continue this tradition of preparing children for better lives.

If you can send a gift of $300—or more—you’ll be honored as a Patron in the Friends of Children Society. It’s our way of saying, “Thank you so much,” for your commitment to helping children and their families.

…Twelve-year-old Kalfala walks 7 kilometers each way from her village, Mamuduya-Kura in Sierra Leone, to attend 4th grade. Her best subjects are math, language arts, reading and social studies. She says, “It is always my desire to develop young children. My family and I are proud that I am doing well in school. We are all convinced that I have a great and bright future ahead of me.” Kalfala wants to be a teacher….

These two little girls are truly inspiring. Since 1985 in Sierra Leone alone, the Fund has helped hundreds of thousands of children and their families by rehabilitating or reconstructing schools and establishing learning centers. Girls in war-torn countries like this are particularly vulnerable and need our help. Too many have been cruelly used by soldiers, forced to give up childhood for motherhood. They need psychosocial care and educational opportunities to feel worthy and whole again.

…In the Serbian municipality of Bujanovac, Roma boys and girls are a small minority who get a very hard start in life. Until 2001, armed conflict divided Serbians from Albanians and marginalized the Roma. Even today, the factions tend to segregate themselves, so Roma children don’t speak enough Serbian to succeed in school. When they do attend, they don’t stay. Thirty percent drop out after the 4th grade. Only 2 or 3% graduate from the 8th grade….

Working with the Serbian Ministry of Education, the Fund is helping to make preschool education mandatory in 2007 by organizing, equipping and running preschools. In the 200X-0X school year, the Fund set up 6 preschools and helped 150 Roma children start 1st grade at the same skill and knowledge level as the other children.

Children grow up so fast. Our window of opportunity is small, and it doesn’t come free. We must build schools. We must train teachers. We must furnish books and supplies. We must educate parents. And when we succeed, entire communities are transformed.

…In Guatemala, the Fund has a Child Development Center in San Jose, about 312 miles from Guatemala City. This community welcomes our efforts and we have already been able to provide early education to 400 children under age 5 and teach 65 parents to read and write….

Fund programs change lives every day—but we can’t do it without your generous support. Every dollar makes a community stronger today and promises better tomorrows.

Please find it in your heart to make a donation to Learning Forever. From your past support, I know you’re committed to breaking the vicious cycle of poverty for children and their families all over the world. Your kindness will be appreciated more than words can ever express.

For the children,


P.S.  I hope you’ll remember the children in your prayers. Please answer their prayers by returning your donation in the enclosed envelope.

Here’s one more example, for a local museum:


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