Financial need usually does not depend on your income level or assets.You may be requesting financial assistance to cover an expense that you have already made, or to request funds for future expenses. Sometimes, you may also request financial support to cover a work-related expense, such as conference travel or office supplies. To effectively state financial need in a letter, you may have to convince your reader that your funds or assets are tied up (if you have any) and that you require financial assistance to be able to accomplish a particular goal.

Determine the right approach. One size does not fit all when writing a letter to state financial need. Some letters may warrant a detailed description, even an exact breakdown, of current or projected expenditure while others may simply require that you explain in the letter what getting financial assistance would mean to you. The best way to determine the right approach is to find out from the donor or past recipients of the same financial support what kind of approach would be most effective in your situation.

Use exact figures. Instead of stating your need in broad terms, use exact figures or your best estimates. For example, instead of writing to request funds to travel to Europe, go to a travel agent and get a quote for the exact countries you will be visiting and then present all that information in your letter. This attention to detail shows that you have done some research and that you are clear about what kinds of financial support would help you meet your goals. Including such things as an itemized budget makes you come across as fiscally responsible and therefore more worthy of support.

Relate your financial need to specific goals. Letters of financial need are more persuasive when they are tied to a specific goal, and usually limited to a particular time. For example, stating that you need an additional $3,000 to complete your tuition in order to be able to graduate the following spring is more convincing than simply writing about how additional money would help you meet your educational goals.

Avoid unnecessary appeals to emotion. While it may seem like appealing to your reader's emotion might be a good way to state financial need, such approaches can sometimes backfire if you overuse them. For one, you may come across as someone who always gives excuses and waits for handouts instead of someone who is driven and hardworking. Secondly, stories of extreme hardship that are not directly connected to financial need may get the wrong response. Your reader may decide that financial support will only offer a temporary rather than a permanent solution to your problem, and for that reason deny your request. In a letter of financial need, it should be clear to your reader how financial assistance will meet your particular need.

Make it personal. Your reader is most likely interested in your particular story, viewpoint, and need, so your letter should be tailored to those circumstances. Give the reader a sense of who you are and what her financial support would mean to you.


Be careful when quoting exact figures. You do not want to request more than your benefactor can afford and risk having them deny your request on the basis that he is unable to fund you fully.

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