Email marketing templates

Effective donor outreach during a crisis

Dozens of nonprofits have asked us if they should continue planned giving marketing during a crisis. And the answer is yes! Besides the fact that Google search trends show that interest in estate planning is at an all-time high, your mission and your organization needs you to continue your important work.

But the challenge with planned giving is that people don’t want to think about their own mortality — even in relatively calm times. And who can blame them?

So at FreeWill, we’ve developed several email marketing templates that have proven to be both extremely effective and very well received by potential donors.


This template pack features ten different email templates:

  • “The Triple Option” email: 3 ways to give
  • Newsletter insert: Planned giving request
  • Bequest option email: Crisis language
  • Personal donor check-in email: No fundraising request
  • Personal donor check-in email: Fundraising request
  • Resilience email: What we’re doing in this crisis
  • Virtual event email
  • Video email
  • New: “Open Door” email
  • New: CARES Act donor email

Our new "Open Door" email template uses a soft ask to leverage the psychology of permission-based fundraising. While the new CARES Act template will help you inform donors about the recent CARES Act and how it may affect their financial situation in 2020 (including QCD giving).


You may want to start with the "Triple Option" email. Here is a basic outline of this strategy: 

  • Share the core work of your organization.
  • Tell your donors why your mission matters more than ever.
  • Say: “There are several ways to help.” This makes readers more curious, instead of defensive.
  • Outline exactly three ways to help. Studies have shown that people find three options accessible, while more is overwhelming.
  • Include planned giving as one of those options.


All of these templates we have designed are for email, but you can adapt them for direct mail or other purposes. While they are specifically focused on the Coronavirus pandemic, we believe they will prove useful both now and for any future crises your organization may face.