Major donor email templates:

Asking for major gifts after one-on-one conversations

When a prospect says they’re ready to make a gift, or expresses interest in a particular giving vehicle, you’ll want to act fast. You can use these email templates and samples to follow-up with potential major donors after you’ve had a one-on-one conversation over the phone or in-person.

These donor email templates will help you to:

  • Match a prospect with the right major gift option if they’ve verbally committed
  • Gently approach an ask by educating them on different gift options and the tax benefits for them
  • Effectively use persuasive writing techniques to introduce new giving vehicles
  • Treat your prospects as equals, by expressing gratitude and appreciation for their potential contribution and time

Download the donor email templates via the form to get started.

In the donor email template pack:

  • Gift agreement email: This email will help you encourage your prospect to complete their gift after a verbal commitment has been made
  • The “Open Door” email: A soft ask that introduces new giving options to your prospect
  • Event follow-up email: Continue the momentum and post-event excitement by introducing prospects to giving options that can make a bigger impact
  • The “Triple Option” email: Build curiosity while ensuring you don’t alienate or overwhelm any prospects who aren’t eligible or interested in certain giving vehicles

5 writing tips for follow-up emails with major gift prospects:

1. Don’t ask for a gift outright.

Your major gift prospects know that they will be asked for a donation at some point. However, by planting the seed in a subtle way, you can make them feel like the decision to give is their idea. When you do ask for a gift outright, it’s better to have these conversations in-person or over the phone.

Instead of asking outright, lead with impact and remind prospects that certain giving options (like stocks or gifts from an IRA) can make a huge impact not only at your organization, but for any of their charitable interests. In doing so, the gift will seem like a natural continuation of the conversation.

For example, you can say: “Andrea, I hope this is helpful to you for any of your giving, to our organization or elsewhere. This can help you save money and have a bigger impact on the causes you care about.”

2. Be specific with how and where their dollars will be used.

In order to encourage your prospects to make major gifts, they need to know how their dollars will be used, or what they will accomplish. You can refer to the initiative they were most interested in from your one-on-one conversations or be specific about what programs it could go to. Your donors are driven by the impact they could make, so it’s important to show them how they’ll make a difference

For instance, let’s say your organization’s goal is to send more underserved youth to school for free. If someone were to donate $10,000 in shares of stock, let them know that their gift could “provide education resources for 100 classrooms.” This shows potential major donors that your nonprofit will use the funds wisely and in a way that is closest to their philanthropic interests.

3. Mention tax savings.

Although potential major donors want to make a bigger impact at your organization, tax savings can sweeten the deal. By showing the donor that the gift is mutually beneficial for them and your organization, it’ll drive further incentive to give. In fact, 50% of donors show more interest when you say “receive a tax deduction and make a gift,” compared to just “make a gift of stock.”

If you include social proof in addition to tax savings, you can show prospects that others like them have caught on, further encouraging them to join in. Social proof is a powerful, persuasive way to motivate your supporters to give. When people see that someone else like them has taken an action, they often assume that action is correct and are more likely to follow suit.

For example, you can say “Many of our supporters are choosing to donate stock this year because it’s an incredibly tax-savvy way to give — will you join them?” This is a low pressure way to spark their curiosity and inspire them to learn more.

4. Get personal.

As you’re building a relationship with a potential major donor, take note of any anecdotes, life updates, or details about them. Reference these in your follow-up communications. It will help if you include these notes in their profile on your donor CRM. These details not only give you a great reason to follow-up, but it will show your prospects that you and your organization truly care about them. Plus, establishing a deep level of trust in these relationships can ultimately bring in more gifts.

5. Ask for an in-person meeting or phone call.

Though email is a great way to introduce the different giving options available to your major donor prospects, you should always aim to do solicitations in-person. These gifts are the largest your organization will receive, and you want to make your potential donors feel appreciated and connected to your nonprofit — because they are!

In your emails, give a brief overview of the tax benefits associated with these gifts, and the impact your prospect could make. Then, end by asking for an in-person meeting or phone call to give them more information.

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