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Nonprofit University

Writing the Annual Appeal Letter

Writing an annual appeal letter involves more than asking your donors for money – you are telling the story of your organization and laying out a case investing in your programs and services. With so many organizations sending out their appeals at the same time, standing out in the crowd is vital. This course will show you best practices in annual appeal writing for creating compelling, clear, and concise appeals that get those checks rolling in!


  • Identifying a core theme to center your story around.
  • Turning data into a narrative.
  • Pros and cons of printing in house versus using a print shop.
  • Putting a human face to your mission.
  • Using voice and tone to best reflect your organization's mission.
  • Use mail merge to simplify the addressing process.


By the end of this course, you will be able to…

  • Recognize the elements of an effective annual appeal letter.
  • Identify creative ways to personalize your appeal.
  • Analyze your data to improve your appeal letter.


Whoever writes the appeal for your organization!

  • For smaller organizations, the Executive Director and board members
  • For larger organizations, more typically the Development Director or Communications/Marketing Director, or other members of fundraising/development or communications/marketing teams.


Matthew Terrell works as communications director for Dad's Garage Theatre in Atlanta. In this role, he provides much of the written word across multiple platforms for Dad's Garage—including newsletters, annual reports, grantwriting, board and staff updates, building signage, and policy documents. Terrell works closely with journalists to ensure ample media coverage of Dad's Garage, and has garnered the organization increased local and national media. In addition to his day job, Terrell works as a freelance writer and artist. His writing appears regularly in VICE, Huffington Post, and Burnaway. Terrell's artwork has been shown on The Beltline, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Whitespace Gallery, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Terrell has a BFA and MFA in writing from SCAD, and an MA in communications from Georgia State University. He is an alumnus of the Rotary Ambassadorial Program, NPR's Next Generation Radio, and Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta. 







  • Coming soon


9:30 am - 12:30 pm


Georgia Center for Nonprofits
Training Room
100 Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta GA 30303
Get directions

Registration Details

Member: $150
Nonmember: $175

Questions? Contact the Nonprofit University team at at [email protected] or 678-916-3081.


Thanks to the generous support of The Wells Fargo Foundation, GCN offers a limited number of partial scholarships for staff and board members of eligible organizations to attend Nonprofit University. Learn more