Write Emails That Can Help Your Not-For-Profit Gain Donations Not Lose Them

I applied for two positions with a not-for-profit in Cleveland, Ohio, although my heart is in Arizona and really want to move back there. The response I received regarding my inquiry about the employment opportunities was courteous, but it in no way opened the door or even suggested that I, Rebecca Sebek, could be a potential donor to this not-for-profit. Perhaps it was an oversight by the person who wrote it. But it could be an oversight that could cost the organization donations.

Here’s the email response I received:

Thank you for your interest in our organization. This position has been filled. Best of luck with your future endeavors.

Here’s what I would have wrote:

Thank you for your interest in our organization. This position has been filled. Please visit our website to learn more about the organization and potential future job openings. We appreciate your support! Best of luck with your future endeavors!

Do you see the difference? The first email basically writes me off, where as the second email asks me to do something for the organization — visit their website. It also indicates there could be future job openings which is why I’d want to visit their website. While I’m there, I may as well learn about the organization which I could be affiliated with in some way in the future. I’m also wished the best of luck which is a nice touch.

Not-for-profit organizations that rely on donations from the public — I am apart of the public. If you work for a not-for-profit, why not take any moment you can to advocate for your organization, even when you’re answering someone who responded to a job opportunity.

When I volunteered, not worked for, but volunteered for The Arizona Humane Society, I was told that I was a Goodwill Ambassador for the organization. Sometimes I would go Fry’s to grocery shop after my volunteer shift; I was still in my volunteer attire which consisted of my AHS shirt and jeans. I was courteous when people would stop and thank me for volunteering at AHS. They would ask me how they could get involved or when they didn’t ask me how they could get involved, I wove it into the conversation. I was never pushy. I believed (still do) in AHS, I was more than happy to be a Goodwill Ambassador for them and the animals. If the people I spoke with felt inclined to donate their money or time to AHS then I did what I was supposed to do — be an advocate for AHS.

If you work for a not-for-profit, you better make sure you employees know what the term not-for-profit means. It means you rely on donations from the general public, organizations, and philanthropists. You also rely on volunteers to help you run events, organize fundraisers, and do whatever else needs to be done to ensure the organization brings in as much donations as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with being an advocate for the organization your work for, unless, of course, you’re told not to tell people about what you do or don’t like your job. Employees of not-for-profits could use every minute they get to spread the word about their organization. Giving people a website to visit or a phone number a call isn’t breaking any rules.

If you don’t understand how business and developing relationships work, perhaps it’s time to take some courses before somebody realizes you don’t know what you’re doing. You could cost your organization money and future money. Learn all you can about marketing and PR and how to write winning emails that will make people want to donate to your organization now and in the future!


How well do you write emails that will entice people to donate to your not-for-profit organization? Share.