Opening Lines

Opening Lines

Last week I wrote about how important the opening paragraph and the PS note were to the success of fundraising letters – because of the way people actually read them. (See The Hidden Fact That Will Change the Way You Write Appeal Letters.)

This week, I’m on vacation, so I pre-programmed this post as a follow-up.

Over the course of time, I join many organizations – always at the $50 level – specifically so I can see their fundraising material later. And I see a lot of bad and ugly – as well as quite a lot of good to great. What I’ve collected here are some opening lines for appeals that I felt were in this latter category.

  • Tenacity: the quality or fact of being very determined; determination.
  • Clamming is an important part of Maine’s culture and coastal life.
  • You often hear stories of nature at risk.
  • For my dad and me, this place has been special and sacred, a place of healing, a place to fish and hunt.
  • We speak for the lake.
  • When we think of innovation, we usually think of Silicon Valley rather than _________ Valley.
  • Texas’ diverse landscapes shape our cultural identity and enhance our lives.
  • So many things change over the course of a lifetime.
  • As 2016 comes to a close, we thank you for your continued support of the __________________.
  • When was the last time you had a chance to get outdoors?
  • Have you experienced that feeling in a deeply familiar place, where your feet just seem to lead you down the trail you love?
  • You have hopefully already received an email announcing my resignation from ____________ Land Trust, but if you did not receive it (or have 1,000 daily emails to attend to, I wanted to take this last opportunity to say “goodbye” and yes, to make a final appeal on behalf of ________________.
  • We don’t want to take you for granted.
  • Sure, a cute photo of a cuddly bear cub or a baby elephant might have been more appealing.
  • Where do you go to renew your spirit?
  • Imagine living less than ten miles from one of the world’s most stunning protected landscapes and never stepping foot on conserved land.


And a few of my own:

  • When was the last time you played in the mud?
  • Sometimes it’s the little things….
  • You’ve got to make this happen,” Bob whispered to me on his deathbed.
  • Wild beach. Mature coastal forest. Lush understory. Magnificent madrones. Deer, eagles, coyotes, woodpeckers, and frogs – lots of frogs.
  • There’s something about that house – I miss being there – And I can’t wait to get back this year.
  • Dirk knew he had a problem.
  • Cindy was there for the first Earth Day.
  • James wants to be a Naturalist when he grows up.


Hopefully, there’s something in there that will inspire you, too.

Got an opening line you’re proud of? Send it to me, and I’ll publish it in a future list.





Photo by Ales Krivec courtesy of

Fall Appeal Planning

Writing Appeal and Recruitment Letters

A Dozen Rules for Writing Better Fundraising Letters


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