“Fundraising Letter: Catholic Street Evangelization.” (Writing Produced Outside of Coursework). July 2013.
Last spring, I helped start a street evangelization club on U-M’s campus. Our mission is to “foster creative, friendly, and non-confrontational evangelism on campus, through which we seek to bring others to Christ and His Church.” We do this primarily by going to a public place and handing out rosaries, in the process talking with others about the Catholic Faith.
Like almost any project, this endeavor requires money. Fortunately, there are many Catholic groups in the area that generously support such initiatives. One of the most prominent is the Knights of Columbus, an association of Catholic men who serve their parishes and communities. Accordingly, I wrote a letter asking for funds to the Knights and sent it out to around a dozen local chapters.
Of all types of writing, I found that writing to ask for money is one of the hardest because it is so delicate. In order to be effective, the substance and tone of the fundraising letter must be in perfect harmony. For me, conveying a true need for resources without sounding overly desperate or pushy was especially challenging. Fortunately, my audience was likely to already be sympathetic to my cause, but this is very often not the case in general. So far, I have received two responses, indicating that this initiative was not a complete failure. At the same time, I’m sure that more focus on the rhetorical situation of fundraising could improve my effectiveness in the future.