3 effective nonprofit newsletter template examples

Nonprofits are a vital part of society. They raise approximately $358 billion each year. 

To continue to do this important work, nonprofits need to reach as many people as possible. 

Thanks to the rise in popularity across various technologies, it has never been easier to reach out and get noticed. But when reaching out to large groups, it’s important to have a template at your disposal to streamline your work. 

That’s why the need for nonprofit newsletter templates is great. When brainstorming your perfect template, make sure you think of something that’s tweakable – that way, you can use it for various campaigns throughout the year.

Why your nonprofit needs a newsletter template 

Newsletters are a powerful piece of content. They’re yours to own and customize, they’re cost-effective, and they create visibility and trust with your audience.

Email marketing provides many benefits for nonprofit organizations, including:

  • The ability to grow your donor base, locally and globally.

  • Having the option to automate your emails, relieving workload from your staff.

  • Giving you the ability to monitor metrics and engagement rates.

Not convinced? Below are benchmarks that speak for themselves.

email marketing industry averages benchmarks table

Source: Campaign Monitor

Nonprofits have the highest open rates across most industries, coming in at over 25%, while also having high click-through rates and click-to-open rates, which average 2.60% and 10.30%, respectively. 

Staying relevant in your audience’s inbox is no easy feat. Consistent communication – without overloading your readers – is important. This is why you’ll want to send regularly scheduled email newsletters. Having a template ready to go will make things easier

What goes into making an effective nonprofit newsletter?

So, what goes into an effective email newsletter in the first place?


Nonprofits rely heavily on donations of their supporters. However, a donation is an emotional experience. If you’re sending out a one-size-fits-all message, readers will notice and your donations may suffer. 

Your audience wants you to treat them as individuals, not as just another source of income. That’s why personalized nonprofit emails see six times higher transaction rates.

The right email marketing software can make personalization a breeze. You can input recipient names or include personalized calls-to-action (CTAs).  


Storytelling plays a significant role in persuading your donors to engage with your content, especially when asking for donations. 

To get readers engaged with your nonprofit, reach them on an emotional level. Show your audience that you share the same concerns as they do.

Share stories of:

  • What you do

  • How you do it

  • Who you help

  • How donors’ contributions are used

Remember, your story isn’t complete without the right visuals, so don’t forget to include imagery.

Compelling vocabulary

Another aspect of an effective nonprofit email sample is one that makes good use of vocabulary. But we aren’t talking about industry jargon.

Why? Jargon is for business, not when you’re trying to relate to your audience. 

Instead, use terms and phrases that help evoke genuine emotions and an urge to act now. 

A few examples to keep in mind when trying to drive donations include:

  • Small: People like the idea of making micro-commitments. Asking them for a “small favor” or “a small donation of…” is more encouraging for those who believe they have little to offer. 

  • Help: Everyone wants to do good in the world. The word “help” holds a lot of power and encourages your readers to act now and contribute to the greater good. 

A strong CTA

The CTA is arguably one of the most critical parts of any email template – it’s the element that tells your readers exactly what they need to do. 

The ideal CTA needs to not only appeal to your reader’s emotional side but it also needs to:

  • Be easily noticeable for readers who scan through their messages.

  • Be short, simple, and clear.

  • Use compelling language that encourages them to act now.

3 nonprofit template examples that work

Knowing what goes into a quality nonprofit email is only the first step. Now it’s time to explore a few nonprofit examples that stand out from the crowd. 

1. The World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) knows how to appeal to their reader’s emotions. 

The first thing that stands out in the below example is the cute animal. This draws their subscribers in, and once they start reading, they’re engaged in the story of a young cub and the dangers the cub faces. 

Finally, readers are encouraged to take action thanks to the following language:

  • “Needs you now”

  • “Will you help?”

  • “You can help!”

  • “Act now to stop threats to nature and protect life on our planet…”

This combination of emotionally driven vocabulary and imagery significantly encourages a reader to act.

What makes this example even stronger is how the WWF personalizes their emails by inserting their subscriber’s name several times throughout. Instead of blindly asking supporters to donate, the WWF is asking “John” to help make a difference. 

nonprofit world wildlife email donation request

Source: Classy


Takeaway: This nonprofit template example incorporates both strong vocabulary and emotional imagery to reach readers. Even better, they personalize the message so the reader feels they’re making a direct impact. 


Much like the WWF, this example from UNICEF makes use of both vocabulary and imagery to spark emotion and tell a story. However, instead of telling the story within the body of the email, they let the shock value of a few choice words and images do the heavy lifting for them. 

In this example, UNICEF uses a very simple template that prioritizes the image and directs the reader’s attention from the sad child to the CTA: “Find out why.” This CTA is compelling because the reader will want to know what happened to that child. 

Also built into the header image is the text, “water is dangerous.” This phrase here sparks worry in the reader, so much that it’ll drive them to wonder how it’s dangerous – which again, leads them right to the CTA.

nonprofit unicef email donation request

Source: Really Good Emails


Takeaway: When it comes to effective nonprofit templates, sometimes less is more. Having a photo or phrase that grabs readers will drive curiosity and encourage CTA clicks. 

3. Patagonia

What makes this Patagonia template example stand out is how it places the reader at the center of attention. While Patagonia isn’t a nonprofit, they're a brand that uses their resources to do something for others, especially when it comes to protecting the planet.

In this email example, instead of focusing their attention on their own efforts, they go out of their way to bring the focus to their subscribers and the good they can do. This email focuses on finding the brand’s committed audience by calling attention to the reader directly. Each of their CTAs are short, sweet, and to the point – encouraging readers to act now. The chosen imagery also showcases young individuals getting involved in various programs.


Source: Really Good Emails


Takeaway: Personalizing your nonprofit template doesn’t have to require the subscriber’s name. You can focus on your readers by using images that relate to them and their interests. The key is to make it relatable enough that it sparks their desire to take part.

Wrap up

When it comes to choosing the right elements for your nonprofit newsletter templates, make sure to consider these key things:

  • Personalization 

  • Storytelling

  • Appropriate vocabulary

  • Actionable CTAs

  • Relatable imagery

  • Design that resonates with readers

Ready to start creating powerful newsletters for your nonprofit? Make sure to check out these 2020 design trends.

About the Author

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