The Chronicle gives fund raisers the chance to have their peers critique drafts of their appeal letters to donors.
Today we offer a letter from Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, in Santa Fe, N.M. It was submitted by Laura Sullivan, the organization’s development director.
Ms. Sullivan said the letter will be printed on 8.5-inch by 14-inch paper with a tear-off reply form at the bottom and will be sent with a self-addressed return envelope. The mailing will also include a fund-raising brochure.
The organization plans to send the letter to donors who have given to the organization in the past three years, volunteers, patrons, and other prospects.
The brochure will replicate the examples that are included in the bulleted section of the letter below.
Ms. Sullivan would like to hear your advice on whether it is appropriate to repeat that information in the brochure or whether it should include different examples of the organization’s impact.
Below is the draft of her letter. Please offer your constructive feedback in the comments section.
Recently, I had the great honor of representing the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. There I saw Rwandan President Paul Kagame, along with five other inspirational individuals, receive the Clinton Global Citizen Award, at a ceremony attended by a 1,000 dignitaries and heads-of-state.
It was three artists from Haiti and Nigeria who created the stunning commemorative awards presented that evening. Former President Clinton commissioned these awards in collaboration with our Market. Later in the awards program, a brief video that featured these Market artists took center stage. It was a great moment for the awardees, for our Market and for the world’s folk artists.
Haitian artist Michée Ramil Remy crafted his award from a recycled steel oil drum, continuing a blacksmithing tradition that dates to the 1950s. As a result of Michée’s participation in the Market—where he earned over $27,000 this year—Michée reports that he has more work ever before, employs more workers, and is helping others in his community. Michée and his family have been given the opportunity to lift themselves from the grinding poverty that plagues so many in his country.
Your generous support of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market provides extraordinary opportunity and creates change for folk art entrepreneurs like Michée from around the world.
We thank you for your most recent donation of $_______. Your gift helped make it possible for our organization to produce a Market that attracted record-breaking crowds, generate $1.95 million in sales, and send 90% of those dollars home with the artists. Your donation also positively affected our local community as the Market created a $14 million economic impact through tourism and taxes paid.
I am asking you now to consider increasing your support of the Folk Art Market— to help empower artists, give them dignified work, and provide them with a global market in which to sell their work.
In the enclosed brochure, we’ve recounted the stories of three women who attended the Market and whose lives have changed as a result of your generosity. Here are some recent updates.
• Nurse Thembeni from Swaziland earned enough for members of her co-op so that they could buy shoes and school uniforms for their children. They were also able to buy a week’s supply of food for the Magojela village soup kitchen that feeds orphaned and vulnerable children who are victims of the widespread AIDS epidemic. As formal recognition for her success, the tribal chief appointed Nurse to a leadership position to oversee poverty alleviation projects.
• Manjula Devi Maithil Bahun from Nepal, who came to Santa Fe on behalf of the 50 women at the Janakpur Women’s Development Center, went home with enough in earnings to support ten months’ salary for all the co-op artists. The center reports that these funds made it possible for the women to send their children to school, pay for family food and medical expenses, and in some cases purchase land.
• Lubisia Membache represented the Wounaan National Congress, a group of some 8,000 indigenous people based in the Darien rain forests of Panama. They attended the Market in 2009 for the first time as an independent group without sponsorship from any outside organization. Their earnings provide them with capital to fight for title to their ancestral lands and make progress towards self-determination.
Folk artists around the world need markets. The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market provides a venue for artists to succeed in the global marketplace beyond their dreams and to begin the path to self-sufficiency.
Your financial support will help more than ever in this challenging year to continue our important work that resonates around the world. To economize, we have reduced our projected expenses by 3%. Administrative costs are just 20% of our budget, all of which are covered by income that we earn at the Market from ticket sales and the like. You can rest assured that your gift directly supports the participation of Market artists and programs.
With your contribution, we can reach our 2010 fundraising goal of $558,000 in private giving—to provide more opportunity and create change in communities across the globe. Thank you for making the world’s folk artists a priority in your charitable giving. I look forward to hearing from you again this year.
P.S. To help, simply mail the reply form below with your gift or pledge. You may also make a monthly gift to sustain the work of the Folk Art Market year-round. Or, make an online gift at folkartmarket.org.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments space below. To submit your letter for a critique, e-mail the Chronicle Web editor, Peter Panepento.