5 Follow-up Email Templates Nonprofits Should Keep Handy When Hiring
Providing a great candidate experience is just as important for nonprofit organizations as it is for commercial businesses. A poor experience not only reduces the chances that a candidate will accept the job if you offer it to them, but can damage their impression of your organization as a whole. When a candidate feels taken care of, however, they’re more likely to support and champion your nonprofit, even if they don’t ultimately get the job.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve the candidate experience is to maintain regular, transparent communication with all of your candidates. When you make an effort to send warm messages throughout the hiring process, it makes candidates feel respected and appreciated—and reflects well on your organizational culture as a whole.
Unfortunately, many nonprofits simply don’t have time to craft a tailored email or InMail for every single candidate in their pipeline, especially for high-volume roles. You don’t want to neglect anyone, even if they’re no longer under consideration for the job, but you can’t spend all day writing messages when you have a dozen other responsibilities to take care of.
To help eliminate any possible communication gaps and put hours back in your day, we’ve created templated emails that you can send candidates in four common situations:
- When they’re still being considered
- When you’re requesting they come in for more interviews
- When you’re telling them they’ve got the job
- When they’re no longer under consideration
We’ve also put together a template that might be useful if hiring has paused or slowed at your nonprofit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Feel free to copy, paste, and personalize these messages to suit your needs!
1. When you’re still considering a candidate and need to check in
When your team or hiring manager is still considering a candidate, but hasn’t yet made their final hiring decision, your message needs to balance two things: the chance of an offer and transparency about your process.
Here’s a great template you can use:
Thank you for coming in to learn more about the [JOB TITLE] position at [YOUR ORGANIZATION]. The team really enjoyed meeting you.
We want to make the best hiring decision and are currently completing interviews with other candidates. We are aiming to have all interviews completed by [DATE] and make a decision by [DATE]. I will notify you about any next steps as soon as possible.
Please feel free to stay in touch or reach out with any questions.
This template gives the candidate a very clear sense of the timeline, which is especially important if they are weighing up other offers but are waiting to hear from your organization first.
Transparency is key. Even if you can’t provide an exact date for hiring decisions, it’s worth being honest with the candidate and explaining the factors that could stretch the process a bit longer. A good rule of thumb is to check in every week until a decision has been made.
2. When you’re asking a candidate to return for another round of interviews
If your candidate passes your first (or second) round of interviews and will need to return for more, the goal of your next message should be to provide as much clarity about the process as possible. After receiving the message, the candidate should be able to quickly add the relevant info to their calendar and begin preparing.
Here’s a template to get you started:
Thank you for taking the time to discuss the [JOB TITLE] position with us. We’d like to invite you for a [SECOND/THIRD] round of interviews.
You’ll be meeting with:
- [NAME], [ROLE] (30 minutes)
- [NAME], [ROLE] (30 minutes)
The goal is to [PURPOSE OF INTERVIEW (ex: delve deeper into fundraising strategies, etc.)].
Are you available on [DATE] at [TIME]? If not, please let me know other dates or times that work. The interview will take place [at LOCATION/via VIDEO CONFERENCING PLATFORM].
The team looks forward to learning more about you. Thanks again for your time.
The level of detail is what’s really important here. Aim to include the purpose of the additional interview(s), along with time, date, and location (or details of the video conferencing platform you’ll be using, if the interview will be conducted remotely). Provide the name and role of all interviewers involved, and add links to their LinkedIn profiles to make it easy for the candidate to look them up before they meet.
Also note that this template thanks the candidate for their time both at the beginning and end of the message, while making it clear that your team is interested in learning more about them and assessing their fit. Multiple rounds of interviews can sometimes be stressful for candidates, but emphasizing your gratitude and enthusiasm can keep them engaged in the process and feeling positive about the next steps.
As always, don’t forget to work in a warm, personalized line if possible—like a specific detail about something they said in their last interview that caught your team’s eye.
3. When you’re extending the job offer
Here’s the message your candidate has been waiting for—and your first opportunity to transition them into your onboarding process. You can opt for either a casual or a formal tone with this message, depending on your organization’s culture and style, and your own level of familiarity with the candidate.
Here’s an example of a job offer email:
It is my pleasure to formally offer you the position of [JOB TITLE] at our nonprofit. This is a [FULL/PART]-time, [ONSITE/REMOTE] position with an [ANNUAL/HOURLY] salary of [$X]. You will be reporting to [MANAGER’S NAME] in the [DEPARTMENT] at [LOCATION, IF ONSITE]. Your expected start date is [DATE].
Attached, please find [LIST OF DOCUMENTS (ex: formal acceptance letter, employee benefits, etc)]. We will need all forms signed and returned by [DATE].
We are very excited to start this journey together. We can’t wait for you to join the team and help us achieve our mission.
Though the tone here is familiar, it’s important to include all of the details the candidate needs—including their new job title, salary, start date, and manager’s name. If they’ll initially start remote but will later transition to an in-person role, be sure to specify this to set the right expectations upfront.
You should also include any necessary attachments—like a formal acceptance letter—and don’t forget to mention any contingencies, like a background check. Provide a clear deadline for their response, and most importantly, make sure to communicate your excitement. It’s the beginning of a new journey for this candidate, and your offer email is key to setting that stage.
4. When a candidate isn’t the right fit for a role
No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. But by writing a thoughtful, empathetic rejection message, you can maintain a strong relationship with the candidate—keeping the door open if a more suitable position opens up down the line.
Here’s a sample message you can send to someone who is not the right fit for a particular open role:
Thank you for coming in to learn more about the [JOB TITLE] position at [YOUR ORGANIZATION].
After conducting several interviews, we have decided to offer the position to another candidate with experience that’s better aligned to the role. As you progress in your career, please stay in touch and feel free to apply for future openings.
This short-and-sweet note thanks the candidate for their time, emphasizes alignment to experience (rather than the candidate’s personal failings), and leaves the door open (and the vibe friendly). Remember to send this message as soon as possible after you’ve reached a decision, as keeping the candidate waiting can hurt their experience and make it harder for them to make informed decisions about any offers they’ve received.
If you have the time, add a line or two specific to the candidate or your organization—like thanking them for their continued support of your mission, or emphasizing how impressed you were with their volunteer experience.
5. When you need to keep candidates warm after an unforeseen event
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many nonprofits and for-profit businesses alike to hit the pause button on hiring. If you already have candidates in your pipeline, it’s important to let them know what’s happening with the role they applied for—otherwise, they may feel forgotten.
You can provide a quick status update using this template:
Thank you for your interest in the [JOB TITLE] position at our organization. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to pause our efforts to fill this role, but we would love to stay in touch and reconnect when things pick back up.
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We thank you for understanding, and we hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.
If you’re transparent and empathetic with candidates, many will want to keep a line of communication open, making it easier for you to hit the ground running if you get the green light to start hiring again. It’s also worth adding a line or two (or linking to a relevant article) to let candidates know what your organization has been up to lately, whether it’s supporting front-line workers or fighting for the rights of marginalized communities, as this can strengthen their dedication to your mission.
A few words can go a long way
In an ideal world, it would be nice to send a personal note to each and every candidate who contacts your organization. In reality, few nonprofits have the bandwidth to do so. Make things a little easier on yourself by storing these simple templates on your computer, then set reminders to send them at key touch points, like after an interview or before going into the weekend.
Candidates will appreciate the update—and they’ll appreciate your organization for taking the time to keep them in the loop.
To find out more about how LinkedIn for Nonprofits can help you hire, click here.