WP Remix


Fifteen (yes, fifteen) five-year-old kids swarmed our house yesterday to celebrate my daughter’s 5th birthday. Fun was had by all and she received many nice gifts from her friends. Once the party was over, we explained to Chelsie that we’d all sit down to write thank-you notes to each of her friends for attending the party and for the gifts she received. To be honest, at this age that really means Mom and Dad will write the note and Chelsie will sign her name. I think this is such a critical skill to teach, even if she doesn’t follow in her fundraising father’s footsteps!!

In the age of e-mail, the hand-written note is sadly becoming a relic of the past. Too often, quick and easy trumps sincere and thoughtful. I’m yet to meet someone that doesn’t appreciate the time and energy spent on writing a handwritten note. It shows a level of personal attention that is nearly impossible to replicate. You might even think of it as one of the first social networking tools!

For several years I had the pleasure of working for a true master of the handwritten note. He set time aside almost every morning to write notes to a wide variety of donors, friends and others. Some were to express his appreciation for a gift. Some were sent when he learned of a particular milestone or achievement. Some were simply to say ‘hello’ and let them know they weren’t forgotten.

I’d bet every single note was greatly appreciated.

For large organizations, it’s not possible or practical to send a handwritten note for every gift or to every donor. But don’t discard the idea entirely. Whatever the size of your audience, I think it’s worth the effort to add the handwritten note to your acknowledgment and communications strategy at some level or type of giving. The same holds true for those donors who need a little extra attention – it’s time well spent even if they haven’t made a gift recently.

I think the handwritten note is one more way that we can show appreciation and connect with donors in a manner that sets our organization’s relationship with them apart from others. So get out your favorite pen, a stack of cards and start writing. Don’t over-think or over-engineer the process, just write what you’re thinking. Your donors are worth it.

Now, back to the recovery process. That birthday party wore me out!

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