9 Automated Email Examples To Help You Cultivate Nonprofit Relationships

KindfulMarch 08, 2021

capture nonprofit email subscribers

As a nonprofit professional, you don’t have a lot of spare time on your hands. When you need something done, you need it done in a way that accomplishes the task in the most efficient way. So why are you still doing the heavy lifting when it comes to email marketing?

The days of emailing your supporters one by one or spending hours sending thank you notes are gone. With email marketing automation, you can make sure that you’re cultivating relationships with your current and future supporters at the right time, every time.

Here are the automated email examples we’ll cover:

What is email marketing automation?

So, what is email marketing automation? Simple marketing automation is the process where technology takes over repetitive marketing tasks so that you’re free to focus on the things that require your input and attention.

By implementing automation techniques for recurring emails, you can strengthen the relationships that matter most, whether you’re on the clock or not. Additionally, you can ensure that your contacts, volunteers, and donors feel nurtured, updated, and appreciated without having to reach out to them one by one.

That being said, marketing automation does not replace you. Your expertise, intelligence, and passion cannot be replaced by technology; your donors still want to hear your story and interact with you. So, while marketing automation can help speed up the recurring tasks, it does not replace the human component of nonprofit work. In fact, if you think about it, automation frees you up to improve the ways your nonprofit connects with people on a human level.

How do I use Mailchimp for email marketing automation?

Now that you’re committed to optimizing your email marketing strategy with automation, let’s discuss how we do that and look at some examples of recurring emails that benefit from automation.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is find the email marketing software that works best for your nonprofit. Because Mailchimp offers instructional pages and best-in-class automation, we’re going to reference the ways they make automation work for you.

With Mailchimp, you can set up emails that are sent automatically when a particular action is triggered by one of your contacts. Whether they subscribe to your mailing list, donate for the first time, or look like they are losing interest, Mailchimp recognizes that data and sends them an email with the messages they need from you.

With Mailchimp, automation is as easy as developing a workflow, setting your triggers, inputting your email content, and pressing submit. Now, let’s see what kinds of emails we should be automating.

1. Welcome email

A welcome email or welcome email series is a way of introducing new subscribers to your organization, campaigns, and mission. While sending a welcome email may seem unnecessary, many reports show that welcome series open rates can average over 50%. With that kind of exposure, a welcome email is one of the best ways to send a good first impression to new donors and subscribers.

By automating your welcome email or series, you can create an onboarding process for new contacts and inform them of upcoming ways to get involved and build relationships that surpass the first impression. Additionally, a welcome email series can create familiarity between your mission and potential donors and encourage them to give next time the opportunity arises.


Hey there, Misha!

Let me be one of the first to welcome you to The Sea Turtle Project family!

Thanks to our generous donors, volunteers, and community members like you, The Sea Turtle Project makes our oceans clean and hospitable for our reptilian friends. Last year alone, we saw a 10% increase in sea turtle population worldwide thanks to events like Lights Out! and Clean Up the Reef.

Now that you’re onboard, you can expect to be updated on all the new ways we’re discovering to help our aquatic friends thrive in their natural habitat. You’ll also get information about ways you can get more involved.

On behalf of all of us at The Sea Turtle Project, thank you and welcome to the bale!


The Sea Turtle Project

2. New subscriber

A new subscriber email is not dissimilar from a welcome email. Its primary distinguishing characteristics are a “thank you” for subscribing and the time of receipt. While a welcome email or series is often sent to deeper involvement in your nonprofit, the new subscriber email acts as a confirmation of subscription and a brief welcome simultaneously.

By automating your new subscriber email, you can make sure your subscribers receive a confirmation right when they subscribe. Additionally, you recognize your supporter’s value and begin to form a mutual relationship without having to reply to each new subscriber individually.


Hey Misha!

Thank you for subscribing to The Sea Turtle Project’s email list! As a member of our community, we’ll share all the ways we’re working to protect the sea turtle populations (and send you some adorable videos along the way).

Be sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and our blog. Until then, enjoy the cutest sea turtle yawn you’ve ever seen.

3. New donor

Like the new subscriber email, a new donor email thanks the donor for their gift and confirms its receipt. The primary difference with this type of email is its formatting guidelines.

Here at Kindful, we recommend your new donor email take the form of either a donation receipt or donation acknowledgement letter. With this format, you display your gratitude for your donor’s gift and satisfy the legal requirement of the donation receipt.

Automating your new donor email allows you to ensure that you don’t miss an opportunity to thank a donor or accidentally fall out of legal compliance.


Dear Misha,

Thank you for your generous donation to The Sea Turtle Project! Donors like you are vital to the continued success of our mission to protect sea turtles from extinction.

On January 15, 2021, you made a contribution of $325.00 to The Sea Turtle Project. Your gift was processed as a credit card transaction and made in support of the Save the Turtles campaign.

As a tax-exempt organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (EIN #111-111-1111), every donation makes an impact, and we are so thankful for your support.

No goods or services were exchanged for your contribution, and your gift is tax-deductible. Please retain this letter for your tax records.

Thank you again for your dedication to conserving the sea turtles’ natural habitat and helping us prevent the danger of their extinction. We’re excited to continue partnering with you to save the turtles!

Your Friends at The Sea Turtle Project

4. Following up to encourage recurring gift

After you thank a donor for their donation, you may get the impression a donor is ready to upgrade to a recurring donation. By following up with them, you provide them with the opportunity they’re looking for with minimal effort on their end.

Additionally, by incorporating automation into this follow-up series, you can trigger follow-up emails at the time when you know donors are most likely to upgrade. This takes the guess-work out of email marketing and ensures your donors receive the contact they’re looking for when they’re most available.


Dear Misha,

Thank you so much for donating to The Sea Turtle Project!

As I’m sure you know, thanks to donors like you, last year we saw a 10% increase in sea turtle populations worldwide. With your contribution to the Save the Turtles fundraiser, we hope to double that by the end of this year.

As a nonprofit organization, we rely on dedicated donors like you to meet our goals and increase our impact. Recurring donors ease the insecurity of not knowing whether we’ll have the resources we need to do all we want to save the turtles from extinction.

So, become a recurring donor today and show you’re dedicated to improving the habitats and lives of sea turtles worldwide.

[donate button]

5. Volunteer thank you

In nonprofit work, sending the thank you email should become second nature. Because you’re continually eliciting gifts and assistance to support and progress your mission, displaying your gratitude regularly and sincerely is best practice.

The volunteer thank you email is a way to reach out to those who have put their time and energy into your nonprofit and notify them of the impact of their assistance. This is a way to improve the relationships with your volunteers because it shows them just how much their work means to you and your mission.



Thank you so much for volunteering with us this year! Your faithful service of 36 hours to The Sea Turtle Project this year makes such a difference in our mission of conserving the sea turtles’ natural habitat.

Thanks to volunteers like you, we saw a 10% increase in sea turtle populations worldwide last year. With progress like that, we’re well on our way to reaching our goals. We couldn’t have done this without you!

Thank you so much for your commitment to saving the sea turtles!



6. Fundraiser thank you

Fundraising thank you letters are similar to volunteer thank you letters but are sent at the end of a fundraising period. Like the volunteer thank you, these emails allow you to thank your donors for their generosity and notify them of your fundraiser’s progress or completion.

By automating the volunteer and fundraiser thank you emails, you ensure your supporters receive the gratification they deserve and remove the possibility of the emails slipping through the cracks.


Dear Misha,

Thank you so much for donating to our Save the Turtles fundraiser! Thanks to you, we surpassed our $750,000 goal, which means that we will have the resources to clean 1,500 beaches and create sea turtle conservation sites all over the U.S.

As I’m sure you know, thanks to donors like you, last year we saw a 10% increase in sea turtle populations worldwide. With your contribution to the Save the Turtles fundraiser, we hope to double that by the end of this year.

Again, thank you so much for your commitment to saving the sea turtles!



7. Happy birthday email

Astute email marketing is about knowing the difference between and correct context for solicitation and cultivation. While several emails will focus on garnering donations and upgrading current donors, some emails provide the touch that builds relationships and nurtures your donors. One example is the happy birthday email.

The happy birthday email acknowledges your donor personally and lets them know that your relationship goes deeper than a mere transaction. By automating your happy birthday email, you make your donors a priority and ensure you’re providing that personal touch at every moment possible.


Hey Misha!

From all of us at The Sea Turtle Project, Happy Birthday!!
Thank you for your support of sea turtle conservation. Know that with your help, we saw a 10% increase in turtle populations last year. We’re grateful to have you as a cherished member of our bale.

Enjoy your special day!

Your friends at The Sea Turtle Project

8. Donation anniversary email

The donation anniversary email is a combination of a thank you email and gentle encouragement for another gift. By sending a donation anniversary email, you remind potentially-lapsed donors of the mission that resonated with them and current donors to give again at a time of year they have in the past.

This email should not be overly aggressive; it should merely thank your donors once again for their investment and describe the ways their donation helped further your mission.


Hey Misha,

Happy one year anniversary of your last donation to The Sea Turtle Project! Last year, you became part of our mission to help conserve the sea turtles’ natural habitat and reduce their chances of extinction. Thanks to your donation, we saw a 10% increase in turtle populations last year. We hope to double that by the end of this year.

Thanks again for your continued support of sea turtle populations worldwide!

9. Abandoned donation or e-commerce purchase

By setting up an automated email for an abandoned donation or e-commerce purchase, you ensure donors who intend to give but possibly got sidetracked receive the reminder of their need. Additionally, if a donor thinks they gave to your nonprofit but forgot to complete the full click-through cycle, this email acts as a confirmation that you have not yet received their donation.

By automating the abandoned donation or e-commerce email, you ensure that your nonprofit receives all intended donations without checking in with potential donors individually.


Hey Misha,

Unlike sea turtle eggs, donations weren’t meant to be left behind. Return to your cart and finish processing your $250 donation to The Sea Turtle Project! You won’t regret it.

In the meantime, here’s a cute 6:00 video of a sea turtle eating. The Sea Turtle Project protects turtles just like him from extinction.

Schedule a live demo with our partner Bloomerang, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Communication