These three sample cover letters will help you get the nonprofit job offers you want. Plus, seven valuable tips on how to be more “hireable” to employers.
When you’re searching the internet for “sample cover letter”, you’ll get lots of templates. Don’t use them! The worst thing you can do is use a boilerplate cover letter template when you’re applying for nonprofit jobs. Instead, make your cover letter personable and reflective of who you are. My sample cover letter below is one example. I also included a sample of a shorter, more casual cover letter, as well as a sample cover letter that you should NOT use when you’re applying for nonprofit jobs.
If you want to write a cover letter that is representative of who you are, then you need to know what types of nonprofit jobs you should apply for. This means matching your personality type with the most suitable job for you. If you’re not sure of your personality traits – or your career goals – read Best Jobs for Introverts and Quiet People.
After I share a sample cover letter (or three), I reveal seven tips for applying for nonprofit jobs. Bookmark this post, for you’ll want to return to get the right wording for your own nonprofit job applications and resumes.
3 Sample Cover Letters for Nonprofit Jobs
Remember that cover letters and job applications are on-going processes that take time. Don’t expect to write your cover letter once and be done with it. Nope. Your cover letter is a dynamic and organic document that changes over time.
Powerful, effective cover letters also reflect the type of nonprofit jobs you’re applying for.
1. My Sample Cover Letter
Below is my cover letter – I recently applied for a job as the Regional Manager of Operation Christmas Child, for Samaritan’s Purse. It’s a stretch for me, but that’s my job as a Christian, to take leaps of faith and trust God to help me walk on water! (that said, however, I also thank God I didn’t get this job. Blogging – not working in nonprofit organizations – is definitely my calling).
If you’re applying for nonprofit jobs that are slightly out of reach, stay connected to God. Trust Him to guide you. Know that you will find the right job at the right time.
My sample cover letter gives you an idea of the types of cover letters applicants send to get jobs at nonprofit organizations.
To Whom it May Concern,
Please accept my application for the position of Operation Christmas Child Regional Manager in BC. I would be honoured and humbled to work with Samaritan’s Purse and the Operation Christmas Child ministry.
My past overseas and local work experience in Christian ministry has deepened my connection to God and strengthened my relationship with Jesus. I believe all work – secular or Christian – can bring me closer to Him, but Christian ministry encourages me to put my faith into action in fresh new ways! I’d love to engage with local schools, churches, and communities to spread the Gospel both here and overseas – and I believe my experience and education is well suited for this position.
As the Team Leader for the Grade 8 teachers at an International Christian School in Africa (Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi, Kenya), I was responsible for curricular and administrative matters. Simultaneously, I taught junior high and high school for three years – my students were missionaries’ and ex-pats’ children. Locally, my Christian ministry experience includes working as an addictions counselor on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, at Union Gospel Mission.
I am self-directed and goal-oriented – I’ve worked as a freelance writer and blogger since 2008. The OCC Regional Manager job description didn’t mention social media skills, and I believe a positive, healthy presence on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc can only benefit the work Samaritan’s Purse is doing! I am skilled in social media and would be happy to integrate it into my work with OCC.
My home office is fully functional, and I have strong administrative skills and a proven ability to work independently. My experience working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Vancouver and the North Shore Crisis Services Society has given me experience with program growth and facilitation, and enhanced my communication and presentation skills.
See my attached resume for my work and education history. I have a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Psychology from the U of A, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from UBC. My husband and I attend Lynn Valley Full Gospel Church in North Vancouver, where I live.
And, yes! I have a car and a valid driver’s license, and am free to travel throughout BC – as well as work on weekends and evenings. I am available to start immediately (my current work with is a contract that ends this month). Also, I would love to work overseas in any capacity OCC needs!
As far as salary goes – after discussion and prayerful consideration, I thought a starting salary of $55,000 a year would be reasonable, given my experience, education, and level of energy and enthusiasm :-) . Plus, of course, mileage and travel expenses.
I am available at your convenience for a Skype or telephone call, or an in-person meeting.
I didn’t get an interview for this job, so don’t copy my sample cover letter! I just wanted you to see what types of nonprofit jobs are available and what types of cover letters the employers are getting.
If you know your cover letter needs to “bake” – or if you’re ready to abandon the idea of finding nonprofit jobs – read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students.
2. A Better Sample Cover Letter (not just for nonprofit jobs)
This is an uber casual, informal cover letter. Again, it’s not a template you should copy or a style that is guaranteed to work. It’s an actual cover letter I found by searching for “sample cover letters” on Google Alerts.
The link to that article – which is called The Secret to Writing a Successful Cover Letter – is right under the third sample.
Wanted: [name of position]. Found: The perfect candidate — me. Just take a look at my attached resume and you’ll see why.
Okay, so I know what you’re probably thinking: What does a guy who’s spent seven years in publishing know about [name of position]? But I’ll tell you what: I’m exploring new career options, and I’m a hard worker, a quick learner, and I’m great with [relevant skill (i.e. hands, computers, etc.)]. I also have a strong set of people skills — I get along with everybody — that would make me a valuable addition to your team.
Give me a shot and you won’t be sorry. Many thanks for your consideration, and please let me know if you have a moment to talk.
All the best,
According to Richard, this cover letter netted him several requests for job interviews. Does this work when you’re applying for nonprofit jobs in most organizations? It’s hard to say. If the casual style of the cover letter suits your personality and work ethic, then perhaps it’s worth a try.
Quick tips for when you’re applying for work:
- If you can’t trust your gut feeling when you’re writing cover letters and applying for the nonprofit jobs you want, get help. Talk to an employment counselor or career coach.
- Use any sample cover letter as a guideline, not gospel truth.
- Make the best of the job you have now. If you hate your workplace, learn how to create a better working environment.
And, remember that sometimes not getting the job you applied for is actually a blessing in disguise. You may never know why you weren’t hired, but you need to trust that it was meant to unfold this way.
3. A Sample of a Cover Letter You Should NOT Use
To Whom It May Concern,
I am responding to the job posting on [name of site] on [date posted] for the [name of position]. I have attached my resume for your consideration, and I would like to set up an appointment to interview for the position.
Thank you very much.
The last two sample cover letters can be re-read at The Secret to a Successful Cover Letter on the Esquire website.
7 Powerful Tips for Nonprofit Job Applications
You need to find your own voice and style when writing your cover letter.
Also, you need to decide if you want to be casual and conversational (like I am in the my first sample cover letter), or more formal and businesslike. I am an informal, friendly, casual person – and my writing communicates this.
Also, think about the type of nonprofit jobs you’re apply for. Just because the employer isn’t a for-profit boss doesn’t mean you can be overly casual and friendly in your application, cover letter, and resume.
1. Be proactive in your cover letter
“In each of the cover letters for the last three employment applications I’ve sent out, I offered my prospective boss a bullet-point list of things I would do were he to give me the job,” writes Scott Snair in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Power Words. “Did he hire me? Yes. Did he like any of the ideas I offered in that cover letter? Not one! And perhaps rightly so: he had his own list of things for me to accomplish. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is that I offered myself to this organization as someone who is innovative and proactive.”
2. Use specific words that apply to the nonprofit organization
“If you give me this job, here is specifically what I’ll make happen for you…”
Don’t just discuss why you’re applying for nonprofit jobs. Go a step further and commit to making specific changes in the organization. Use your cover letter to illustrate what you’re passionate about changing. None of the sample cover letters I shared do this.
3. Ask for the job during the interview
‘The last time my wife, Mary-Jane – a mental health clinician – interviewed for a job, she finished the meeting by plainly stating to her prospective bosses (who were interviewing her as a team), ‘I’m very interested in this position. Could you tell me where I stand?’ They asked her to leave the room. A few minutes later, they brought her back in and said, ‘You’ve got the job!”
These tips are from Scott Snair’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Power Words.
Before You Apply for Nonprofit Jobs
If you’ve been dealing with unemployment for awhile, read Knock ‘Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide by Martin Yate. With details on everything from connecting on LinkedIn to finding the right nonprofit jobs to accepting an offer, Yate shows you where today’s employment opportunities are and how you can develop the skills and values that employers are looking for.
You’ll also learn how to:
- Create resumes that get results
- Maximize social networks to quadruple interviews
- Turn those job interviews into job offers
- Negotiate the best salary and benefits package
Learn how to write effective cover letters and resumes from a variety of sources. Don’t rely on the internet alone, whether you’re searching for nonprofit jobs or a sample cover letter that should reflect your style and personality.
- Ensure your cover letter specifies the position you’re applying for, directs the hiring manager’s attention to relevant information on your resume, and explains why you’re a good candidate for the job.
- Brainstorm from your potential employer’s point of view. What first impression are you giving with your cover letter? Ask a career coach or employment counselor for help and insight.
- Highlight the fit between your experience and education, and the organization’s job description. Explain why you’re searching for a job in the nonprofit jobs sector, and use your cover letter to sell yourself.
- Share your cover letter with colleagues and friends you trust, and ask for critical feedback. Don’t argue with the feedback you get; simply take it or leave it.
The bottom line: don’t just read a sample cover letter and expect to use that “formula” when you’re applying for nonprofit jobs. If you’ve been looking for work for any amount of time, you know that job hunting is a full-time occupation that requires alot of energy, time, and focus. It also requires you to be YOU.
How to find your calling in your job
In What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Road Map for Reaching Your Unique Potential, Robert Steven Kaplan shares a specific and actionable approach to defining your own success and reaching your potential.
Kaplan proposes an integrated plan for identifying and achieving your goals in both your career (nonprofit jobs or not) and life. He outlines specific steps and exercises to help you understand yourself more deeply, take control of your career, and build your capabilities in a way that fits your passions and aspirations.
“Adults always ask kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas,” said Paula Poundstone. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your calling? Your mission, your purpose, your ministry?
I welcome your comments about finding nonprofit jobs – or my sample cover letter – below. I especially welcome your thoughts about finding work you love and doing the job you were created to do.