Writing letters is a key tool in asking for support. Letters keep your friends informed of your acceptance and involvement in the Urban Program. Design your letter to inform others of God's work in your life, to share about why you’re going on an Urban Program, and to persuade them to become involved with you in it. (See samples in Appendix 5).
General Suggestions for Writing Letters
- Write a simple, clear, straightforward letter. Focus on one main idea.
- Underline key words or sentences.
- Keep sentences short.
- Write as naturally as you talk. Don't philosophize about missiological or spiritual concepts which are not in the average person's daily vocabulary.
- ASK for some type of action in every letter you write. If you want recipients to pray, ASK for prayer. If you want recipients to give financially, ASK for financial support. Asking is the most overlooked step in writing these letters!
- Have someone else proofread and give suggestions.
- Be sure the letter prints out neatly. Copy it on high-quality white paper or a light pastel color (ivory, bright yellow). Avoid dark colors (red, grey, etc.) because they’re too hard to read!
First, introduce yourself and include a recent photo. State your acceptance on the Urban Program and give a short program description. Summarize how God has led you there and why you’re going.
It helps to share your need in terms of XX people giving $YY amount. Then share a total dollar figure (e.g. 10 people giving $100 each, plus 12 people giving $50 each will help me meet my goal of $1,600). People respond practically to small amounts such as $100, $50 or $25. A figure of $1,600 is too large for most individuals to consider and too large to practically act upon. In contrast, churches are more interested in the total amount and will respond in terms of $250 or $500 per gift (may vary significantly depending on your church’s budget).
Be sure to give a realistic date by which you would like a response. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope on which they can indicate their response ("Yes, I'll pray for you" or “Yes, I’ll give $50”) and mail it (along with their check) back to you.
Donors will get tax-deductible receipts, so they should make out their checks to InterVarsity with your name and program on the memo line, and send them to YOU. You will then mail all checks to the national office.
Within three days of receiving a response, send a thank-you. In this way, individuals know you are interested in them. If you don’t hear back from people you had expected, follow-up with an email inquiring about the letter you sent them. Did they receive it and have time to look it over?