It’s fun when something you should do is also something you enjoy doing.
I’ve grown to truly enjoy sending hand-written thanks (and other notes) to our donors. It’s partly the challenge. For instance, after the end of the year, I had more than 70 in a backlog. That was one marathon note-writing session! But I definitely felt like I’d accomplished something once I wrote them all.
But mostly, it’s the hope that a very personal touch will break through the daily noise. I hope that the people receiving the notes will feel they’ve been acknowledged as individuals. That they’ll feel it’s a genuine person-to-person communication. The thought that a short, hand-written note might make someone smile makes me smile.
So let me encourage you to give it a try. Here’s what I do.
Make it fun
I don’t use “official” stationery. I look for small notecards I like on sale and buy a bunch. Since I’m writing to every person who gives to my organization, I’ve needed many boxes of cards! (I’m trying to find something clever to do with all the cute little boxes.) Part of the pleasure of writing these is picking cards that fit your personality. And using a pen you like. Make this a joy, not a chore!
Don’t be afraid to be emotional
The whole point of this is a genuine, personal connection. So don’t hide from emotions. It’s not unprofessional – it’s human!
In the same vein, this is a note. Go ahead and be casual. Spell correctly, and watch your grammar. But go ahead and write like you talk. (Good advice in any case).
Track your efforts
I’m tracking every note. Because along with the “soft” stuff above, I’d also like to see if there’s a measurable response to this personal treatment. So far, a number of the people who’ve gotten a note have made more than one gift – that’s hopeful. But I really won’t know enough until next year, when I can look for changes in their behavior after receiving a note.
But you know what? Even if I find these notes haven’t really resulted in increased giving, I’m pretty sure I’ll keep doing it. Relationships are really what’s it’s all about anyway, right?