This article will help your nonprofit cover letter stand out and win your nonprofit dream job. The article also includes a free cover letter templates to get you started.
Who is this template for?
This template is for all nonprofit organizations.
What are the main sections covered in this template?
The main sections include: what a nonprofit cover letter is, the key elements to include in your cover letter, and how to write one that will help your application stand out.
Writing a great cover letter is a critical step to landing your dream nonprofit job.
If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t worry—we can help! In this article, you’ll learn what a nonprofit cover letter is, the key elements to include in your cover letter, and how to write one that will help your application stand out.
We’re even going to give you a few cover letter templates for nonprofit jobs!
Ready? Let’s go!
What Is a Cover Letter for a Nonprofit Job?
Let’s start with the basics—what exactly is a nonprofit cover letter?
A nonprofit cover letter is a letter that gives job candidates the opportunity to detail their relevant skills, experience, and knowledge to the organization to which they are applying.
It’s important to remember that a cover letter is different from a resume. When applying for jobs, you will likely be asked to submit both a resume and a cover letter.
A resume should outline your professional work experiences and relevant skills, including details like the dates and locations of your prior jobs. The formatting of a resume is much different, and typically uses bullet points and lists instead of longform writing.
A cover letter, on the other hand, is a one-page letter in which you get the chance to brag about yourself and make a compelling case in writing as to why you are a great fit for the job. You get to showcase your skills, experiences, and even your personality in your cover letter.
Since nonprofit work is usually very mission-driven, it’s especially important to use your cover letter to show potential future employers how committed you are to the mission and vision of their organization.
Key Elements of a Cover Letter for a Nonprofit Job
Every cover letter should be unique and should directly respond to the job posting for which you are applying.
However, it is important to include the following three key elements in each and every cover letter that you submit. These elements can help you organize your cover letter so that it is clear, concise, and easy-to-read.
Key Element #1: The Introduction
The first key element is the introduction. In this part of the cover letter, you should introduce yourself and express your interest in the specific position for which you are applying. You can also use the introduction to demonstrate familiarity with the organization’s mission, vision, and work. You can even share why the nonprofit’s work is important to you.
Remember—the introduction is your first opportunity to catch the attention of the reader. You can take some creative liberties in this section and mention something that you know makes you stand out (maybe you attended the same university as the recruiter, or maybe you met the recruiter at a job fair previously).
Key Element #2: The Body
The next part of the cover letter is the body. This is where you get to show off!
You should use this space to explain why you are the best fit for the job. In this section, you should share some skills and professional experiences that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. However, it’s not enough to just mention your skills—you need to show the reader that you can apply those skills in a professional setting.
For example, if you want to highlight your grant writing skills, you could say:
In my current role as a grant writer for XZY Food Bank, I have secured $1.5 million in funding to support our work through various foundation grants, as well as state and federal grants.
As an experienced volunteer recruiter and manager, I have overseen volunteer recruitment, training, and management. In my current role, I’ve developed a robust volunteer training program as well as a volunteer recognition program to ensure that volunteers are acknowledged for their incredible work.
The goal of this part of the cover letter is to convince the reader that you are capable of doing the job and that you would be successful in the role if you were hired.
Key Element #3: The Conclusion
The last key piece to any cover letter is the conclusion.
In this section, you should reiterate your interest in the position and mention any follow-up actions you plan to take in regard to your application.
For example, you could mention that you will call and follow up within a week, etc. You can also provide your contact information and share your availability for an interview. Lastly, you should always thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration.
Free Cover Letter Templates for Nonprofit Jobs
If you’re still wondering what a cover letter looks like, this is the section for you!
In this section, we’re going to provide you with a few templates that can serve as inspiration as you begin writing your own cover letter. Specifically, here’s what you’ll find in this section:
Two customizable nonprofit cover letter templates that you can use and adapt to meet your needs.
Two nonprofit cover letter samples that might help spark some inspiration as you embark on your cover letter-writing journey.
I am writing to express my interest in the [position name] with [organization name]. I’ve dedicated my career to [a cause that is relevant to the job you’re applying for] and have [number] years of experience in this field. I have the skills and experience to be successful in this role and contribute to the valuable work of your organization.
In my current position as [current position title], I am responsible for [share functions that are relevant to the job you’re applying for]. (Add details about successful projects you’ve overseen; measurable successes are great to include here! )
In past roles, I have [share prior projects you’ve overseen, programs you’ve coordinated, etc. Make sure they are relevant to the role you are applying for.] In these positions, I successfully built and honed my [list some skills (e.g., fundraising, relationship-building, communication)] skills.
In closing, my past experience, combined with my educational background and skills, make me a wonderful fit for the [position title you’re applying for] position with your organization. I am confident that I could be successful in this role, and would be a great addition to your team. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
I am interested in applying for the [position title] position with the [organization name]. As an experienced and dynamic [professional title (e.g., nonprofit leader, fundraising professional)], I am confident that I have both the skills and practical experience to excel in this role. I have extensive experience in [list areas of experience relevant to the position], and I am confident that these skills will enable me to be successful in this role.
I have spent the last [insert number] of years working in the field of [insert field (e.g., fundraising)]. In my current role, I am responsible for [insert areas of responsibility (e.g., managing a team, developing partnerships, overseeing programs)]. In this role, I have successfully [share a success you’ve had in your role]. I also have a strong track record of [share other areas in which you excel that are relevant to the job posting].
In closing, my background and skills make me an excellent fit for the [position title] with [company name]. In addition to my professional experience, I am passionate about [something related to the organization’s mission] and have an unmatched drive to succeed. All of these factors will enable me to contribute greatly to the work of your organization.
I would be so grateful for the opportunity to talk to you in more detail about this opportunity, and I look forward to hearing from you about next steps. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of my application.
Sincerely, [Your name]
Dear Ms. Smith,
I am submitting my resume to you for the Development Manager position with ABC Foundation. I have more than 3 years of experience in grant writing and administration, as well as extensive experience managing local, state, and federally-funded grant programs. Additionally, I am a skilled communicator and work well under strict deadlines. My skills and experiences make me a perfect fit for this role.
I have experience working in the field of nonprofit fundraising in various roles, including as a freelance grant writer. Since 2018, I have worked to secure grant funding for various nonprofit clients throughout central Connecticut. As a freelance grant writer, I assist with identifying new funding opportunities, developing a compelling case for support, and submitting proposals on behalf of clients. I have successfully secured grants for clients as large as $150,000.
In my previous role as Development Associate for ZXY Family Services, I supported all fund development initiatives for the agency. This included implementing the annual resource development plan, overseeing donor stewardship and recognition, and executing the organization’s annual fundraising events. In this role, I oversaw the planning of the organization’s annual gala, which yielded $300,000 in net revenue for the company.
In summary, my background and skills have prepared me well for this role, and I am confident that I would contribute greatly to the fund development efforts of your organization. I am extremely interested in joining your team, and I look forward to talking with you more about this opportunity!
Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely, Mary Swartz
Dear Mr. Price,
As an experienced fundraising professional, I am very interested in the Director of Development role with ABC Fundraising. I am well-versed in the competencies you are seeking, and I am confident that I will contribute to the valuable work of your organization. I am the ideal candidate for this role, as my skills and experience align with what is detailed in the job description.
With more than 10 years of experience in this field, here is what I can immediately bring to the table:
A comprehensive understanding of fundraising best practices and current trends
Strong critical thinking and analytical skills
Excellent interpersonal skills
A history of successful collaboration across philanthropic sectors
Experience in all aspects of nonprofit fundraising, including major and planned giving, donor stewardship and recognition, solicitation, and grant writing and administration
Over the course of my career, I have developed a suite of skills that are necessary to effectively support nonprofits in achieving their mission. In addition to my background as Development Manager at Central Maine Food Bank, I have experience as a fundraising consultant, nonprofit grant writer, and social media manager.
I am passionate about the work of your organization and am confident that I would make a great addition to your team. I hope to be able to chat with you in more detail about this opportunity and my background and skills. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for a Nonprofit Job
We’ve discussed what a cover letter is, as well as the key elements that you should include in your own cover letter. Next, we’re going to share a couple of tips with you that you should keep in mind as you begin writing. Let’s go!
Customize your letter
There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” cover letter. It’s important to customize each cover letter that you write so that it is directly addressing the specific job to which you are applying
It may be tempting to copy and paste your cover letter from one job application to the next, but that is not a good idea! Maximize your opportunity to showcase your skills and talents by adapting each cover letter to address each individual job.
Do your research
Do your research on the organization to which you are applying before you begin writing. See if you can figure out the name of the recruiter that is in charge of hiring for the position, or the names of the managers to which the position will report. Address the cover letter to those individuals, when possible, rather than using a generic salutation such as To Whom it May Concern,or Dear Human Resources Director.
Also be sure to tie in key details about the organization to demonstrate that you are familiar with their work and to illustrate to the recruiting team that you’ve done some homework. You can mention why you support the organization’s mission and vision, how you have engaged with or supported that organization in the past, or something about the organization’s work that really impresses you.
Remember—nonprofit work is mission-driven, so it’s important to show that you are passionate about and committed to the cause that the organization supports.
Make sure you proofread your letter several times. It doesn’t matter how impressive your experience is, if your cover letter is filled with grammar and spelling errors, that could result in an immediate rejection!
If grammar and spelling aren’t your strongest areas, you can recruit a friend, family member, or mentor to review it for you before you submit. The more people who review it, the better!
Keep it brief
As we mentioned, your cover letter should not exceed one page.
Hiring managers are inundated with candidates, so they have limited time to spend reading cover letters. Your goal is to make a big impact in a short amount of space. Use the three key elements we provided above as a framework for your cover letter to help you keep it short and sweet.
Wrapping Up: The Next Steps
We’ve reviewed what a cover letter is, why it’s important, and gave you a few tips to keep in mind as you begin crafting your own cover letter. We even gave you four different templates that you can use and adapt to meet your own needs!
At this point, you’ve got everything you need to craft a compelling, successful cover letter. Happy job-seeking!
With the right tools, nonprofits can quickly scale fundraising and programming and take back their time. But, what makes something the “best” tool? And how do you justify an additional expense in a resource-constrained organization? Download this guide to learn more.