The Power of a Sentence

September 16, 2016

You know it when you see it.

Appeal letters have many elements in common, from personalization, the ask string, or a compelling “P.S.” to spur a reader to action. One element often missing, though, is the “power sentence” that pulls a reader in from the start and compels them to read on.

As fall approaches and appeal season sets in, you may be staring at a blank screen wondering how start a letter that will stand out. While determining your message and creating a timeline for mail, email, and social media are key to any appeal, below we include some power sentences to ensure your letters and emails get read, have an impact, and spur them to action!



Dear John:

How many times have you felt like you wish you could do more?

 Today, you can.


Dear Ms. Smith:

Last year the Phillips’ family thought they wouldn’t spend another Christmas together.

After nearly a year of tough cancer treatments – and a lot of help from doctors and nurses at Northern Hospital – a family has hope and are together for the holidays.


 Dear Jane:

 In the past year, thousands of migrants lost everything and were forced to flee their homes.

Your support can give them stability again.


Dear Mr. Smith:

Learning to read is one of the most powerful skills a child can gain.

Unfortunately, childhood literacy rates have just dropped to their lowest level in ten years.


Dear John:

If you don’t stand up for tougher environmental standards, corporations will keep making their own rules.


Dear Jane:

Expansive. Breathtaking. Undeniably unique.

Next spring, when the Museum of the Arts re-opens, we want you to experience all this and more, first-hand.


Dear Ms. Smith:

You did something truly incredible last year.

Thanks to you, every child who visited the Science Center received a discounted admission and free return family pass.


If you’ve got other power sentences that have worked for you, please share them!