Your End-of-Year Appeal Letter… Plus _______?

In today’s digital culture, your partners will feel honored that you wanted to talk with them.

© The Navigators

© The Navigators

If you are mailing an End-of-Year or Start-of-Year appeal letter, good for you. Even if there is no tax advantage in your country, the turning of the calendar stimulates readers to re-figure their giving plans. Put yourself “top of their mind.”

But…do one more thing! You will raise more funding and bond more tightly with your partners if you Phone your people (or Facetime or Skype)!

What types of calls? ACTU:

Ask: Invite non-donors or lapsed donors to join or re-join your team. You could say: “You received my end-of-year letter…..In the letter I invited special gifts for our ministry…I wonder if we could talk about that for a minute.”  

Cultivate: No ask for a gift but simply to deepen the friendship. Perhaps in the future you will ask.

Thank you: Name the amount(s) they have given, say thank you, and tell a ministry story. Re-affirm their partnership—“We are in this together!”

Upgrade: Ask your donor to increase support—monthly or annually. You might say: “You received my letter… You have been supporting us [monthly/yearly] for [$$] since [year]. I wonder if I may ask you to consider increasing your support… maybe to [$$] per [month/year]?” (Pause….)


For my part, I start phoning November 15 and go through January 5 or so. Two years ago, I made 90 phone calls in 45 days but talked to only 55 people. For the other 35 I left brief voice mails or a text. Sometimes I receive gifts 4-8 months later from my cultivation calls—though I didn’t ask.

The first call is the hardest. But once I begin, the Holy Spirit helps me, and I find myself enjoying my friends—some I have not talked to in years.



  • Relax. If you are nervous your friend will be nervous.

  • Jot down talking points. You might never look at them, but they give confidence.

  • Listen! Ask questions. Talk no more than 30-40% of the time, maybe less.

  • Talk about your vision! Avoid the word “need.”

  • How much exactly are you trying to raise? What if they say no?

  • Finding phone numbers takes time.

  • Take notes.

  • If they need time to think about your support, say you will phone them back in a week. Or after Christmas.

  • End your call with a brief prayer—but not about their giving.

  • For those you ask, follow up with a short email, text or hard-copy letter.

In today’s digital culture, your partners will feel honored that you wanted to talk with them. This is ministry!

How many calls can you make by January 5?

We were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us
— 1 Thessalonians 2:8