The WHALE-com Email Series Model


Onboarding new supporters is like getting a car up to speed on an expressway. Without a proper on-ramp, vehicles struggle to merge safely into fast-moving traffic. Similarly, nonprofits need to properly accelerate engagement with new subscribers through a structured welcome series. These emails act as the onboarding ramp, steadily gaining momentum by providing inspiration, education, and opportunities for involvement. 

Well-crafted welcome series smoothly accelerate new supporters from unaware to actively engaged. Just as accelerating lanes allow cars to safely merge at highway speeds, an effective nonprofit welcome series seamlessly integrates new subscribers into the fast flow of the organization’s community and mission. This onboarding ramp is essential for nonprofits to foster lasting involvement and support. Welcome series help new supporters gain speed and successfully merge into active participation.

At Whole Whale we leverage a WHALE-com series timeline and email outlines to make sure that the supporters a nonprofit acquires merge well.

Here are the elements:






Welcome Email  

When to send: Sent immediately upon signup

The first email thanks the person for signing up and gives an overview of the organization and its mission. Hopefully, you are also able to make them smile. 

This email shares an emotional story to build a connection to the mission.

Email Outline: 

– Warm greeting and thank you for joining 

– Quick facts about mission, community served, org history

– Overview of focus areas and programs 

– Set expectations for upcoming series

– Link to website for more info

Heart Email

When to send: 3 days after the Welcome Email

This email shares an emotional story to build a connection to the mission.

Email Outline:

  • Story of a single mom who used the food pantry and job training program to get back on her feet
  • Quote from her about the impact of these services
  • Stats on the number of families served by the food pantry each month
  • Tie to mission of providing food, housing, and skills to local families
  • Invite to visit the website to read more client stories

Action Email

When to send: 5 days after Heart Email

This email provides clear ways to take action and get involved. A closed mouth doesn’t get fed… time to make a clear ask. 

Email Outline:

  • List 3 current volunteer opportunities with links to sign up
  • Details on upcoming fundraising gala event
  • Quick advocacy actions like signing a petition
  • Button to become a monthly donor

Learn Email

When to send: 4 days after the Action Email

This email educates on history and programs. It is also great if you are able to teach them something new about the larger cause. 

Email Outline:

  • History and major milestones since founding in 1985
  • Introduce Executive Director and Board President
  • Infographic showcasing all programs and communities served
  • Invitation to attend a site tour

Engage Email

When to send: 5 days after Learn Email

This email inspires deeper engagement through donor impact.

Email Outline:

  • Show donor impact at $10, $50, and $100 levels
  • Stories of real donors and why they give
  • Share the progress bar toward the current fundraising campaign goal
  • Inspire them to become a recurring giver
  • Button to donate any amount

The full WHALE series provides a strategic mix of inspiration, education, and clear ways to get involved with the nonprofit over the 2-3 week time span.

In summary, a strong welcome series acts as an onboarding ramp that accelerates engagement among new nonprofit subscribers. Just like cars require acceleration lanes to merge safely at highway speeds, nonprofits need structured email sequences to smoothly integrate new supporters into active participation. At Whole Whale, we are experts at working with nonprofits to create high-impact welcome campaigns. 

Our team can help build the ideal onboarding ramp for your organization and community. We know the right strategies and frameworks so you can effectively educate and inspire your new subscribers to become engaged advocates. Let us help accelerate your nonprofit’s supporter engagement through a welcome series tailored to your mission and community. Together, we can build an onboarding experience that allows new supporters to merge seamlessly into the flow of your purpose.