College or University (Including Programs or Departments) • Letter Templates and Guides

How to write this letter:

1Identify the beneficiary of the fundraiser (a university, college, department, etc.).
2Describe the specific needs that the money raised will meet.
3Indicate the benefits that will come from the money raised--not just to the university or department, but to those who contribute (or to the community as a whole), as well.
4Tell how much money you are trying to raise.
5Ask for a specific amount of money (but offer alternative amounts, as well), and indicate the date by which the money should be received.
6Consider offering a premium (gift) to donors as a token of appreciation for their generosity.
7Close by reiterating the need for the money being raised, and restate your hope that the letter recipient will make a (generous) donation.


Determine the audience for the fundraising letter: faculty, former faculty, alumni, students, members of the community, and/or parents of students. Invite someone who has an influential role in the college, department, university, or alumni association to write or sign the letter.

Example Letter #1


As an alumnus of the Creative Writing Department at (Name of University), you've experienced first-hand the passion and commitment of our diverse and talented writing faculty, you've participated in the stimulating and constructive discussions of our classrooms, and you've produced writing emblematic of the sophistication and craft fostered by the experiences of our program. We know, therefore, that you understand the rarity and value of the time spent moving through the phases of the MFA degree in the Creative Writing Department at (Name of University).

Each year, the program accepts only the most promising of the hundreds of applicants interested. And each year, the department commits itself to fully supporting the education of the students accepted. Through stipends and teaching opportunities, the costs of tuition are waved for every student. However, our ability to provide this level of support depends on donations from alumni and other individuals aware of the value of our program.

We are writing today, therefore, to ask you to reflect on the value of your time and experiences within the Creative Writing Department at (Name of University) and then to consider making a donation to help us continue providing the same quality of experiences to the young talent entering the program each year. In particular, we hope you will consider sponsoring one student through his or her first year. A contribution of just $5000 would provide the necessary funds. Of course, a contribution at any other level would be warmly appreciated.

For your convenience, we have enclosed a pre-addressed, prepaid envelope. We greatly appreciate your continued connection to our program, and we hope to hear from you soon.

Example Letter #2


As a member of the Springfield State University Alumni Association, we hope you will choose to be part of our drive to raise money for scholarships.

As educational costs skyrocket, more and more potential students are choosing to forgo higher education. Others who don't qualify for Pell Grants, but lack the resources to pay tuition and other costs, find themselves faced with frightening levels of debt.

As SSU Alumni, we can't help everybody, but we can at least help some deserving students gain the education they desire. If each one of us gives a little, the results will be huge. In order for this to have a meaningful impact, we need to raise at least a million dollars.

Consider what your degree has done for your annual earning power. Do you think you could give 1% of that earning power back to Springfield State? That's all we're asking, just 1 %. Obviously, you're welcome to give more or less to the scholarship fund, depending on your circumstances.

Whatever you choose to give will be gratefully accepted, and when you do send your donation, be sure to let us know your shirt size. We have Springfield State Polo shirts as gifts for the first 300 donors!

Example Letter #3


First, may we sincerely thank you for being a long-time supporter of our university. We truly have appreciated your generosity over the years, as it has allowed us to accomplish many great things.

As you know, at MRU we make it our mission to put our students first. We believe everyone has the right to a top-notch education--not just the wealthy. That's why we put such an importance on scholarships and other financial aid, in order to help all of our students achieve success. This year, in the education department, we have set a goal to raise an additional $200,000--all of which will be awarded as scholarships to deserving incoming students of the education program.

We know that education is generally not the most rewarding career financially, and we want to lighten the burden of those who choose to follow a career in education so that they will feel free to do so without worrying about a large student loan repayment.

Will you help us, Mr. Doe, to accomplish this aim by sending a donation of $500 to our department by next Friday, November 5, in the enclosed envelope? To show our appreciation, we will send to you a copy of our department journal, The Educational Eye--yours absolutely free when you make your 100 percent tax-deductible donation to the department.

Remember, all contributions made will go directly to fund department scholarships for needy but deserving freshmen students for next fall. I hope you will help to make the dream of affordable higher education a reality by sending in your generous donation by next Friday. I know you'll be glad you did.

Example Letter #4


Springfield Valley State College has come a long way since it was established back in 1970. Originally founded as Springfield Valley Technical School, the college has grown and expanded beyond anyone's expectations in the last 37 years. We are very proud of the progress we have made and the things we have accomplished in that relatively short time. For instance, we now offer 48 bachelor's degrees (with more soon to come); we have a student body of more than 20,000; and, on average, our newly graduated students have the best incomes in the state.

We would like to continue this pursuit of excellence by becoming a university by 2019. To do so, we have been working closely with the state board of education and with other city, state, and national officials. By becoming a university, we will be able to offer an even better educational experience to our students. And the larger community will benefit as well, as they will be able to take more classes for continuing education and will have the opportunity to view more theatrical, musical, and dance productions.

In order to achieve this objective, we are hoping for the generous financial support of the greater community. Will you help us, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson, to meet our goal of raising $1 million by making a donation of $250, $500, or $1000 (or more)? Your donation will help us to cover the many initial expenses inherent in becoming a four-year university.

To make a financial contribution to this effort, simply make your check or money order out to "Springfield Valley University Fund" and mail it in the enclosed, self-addressed envelope. Then, when we receive your donation for $250 or more by October 20, we will send to you a classy desk clock that has the new Springfield Valley University logo. This gift is yours, absolutely free--it's our way of saying "thank you" for helping us in this important cause.

We look forward with great anticipation to the day when the college will become a university. Please help make this dream a reality by making a generous donation today!


Describe the specific needs that the money raised will meet.

Example Sentences for Step 2

Example Phrases for Step 2


Indicate the benefits that will come from the money raised--not just to the university or department, but to those who contribute (or to the community as a whole), as well.

Example Sentences for Step 3

Example Phrases for Step 3


Consider offering a premium (gift) to donors as a token of appreciation for their generosity.

Example Sentences for Step 6

Example Phrases for Step 6


Close by reiterating the need for the money being raised, and restate your hope that the letter recipient will make a (generous) donation.

Example Sentences for Step 7

Example Phrases for Step 7

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