Nobody has been harder on the United States Post Office than I’ve been over the last ten years or so; however, there IS a lot to be said for the virtues of snail-mail these days…especially when it comes to communicating with your donors.
After reading the sixth paragraph of Jeff Schreifels column below, I remembered that I have a space on my desk where I keep similar cards…I guess for the same reason Jeff does; they’re just so personal and so out-of-the-ordinary. And meaningful.
The most recent was a HAND-WRITTEN greeting card from my Dad following up on a certain “meaning of life” conversation the two of us had last March 14.
And I kept the HAND-WRITTEN card Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent me after we bumped into each other on an airplane from Phoenix to Las Vegas last February 13, 2012.
And there’s a HAND-WRITTEN card from Sharron Angle thanking me for a donation I made early to her campaign in 2009.
But my favorite is a HAND-WRITTEN personal one-page letter – IN CURSIVE! – from the late Nevada State Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio that dates all the way back to June 3, 2008…almost four years ago!
Again, none of these were standard-issue form letters. They were all hand-written and personal. True personal; not “mail-merge” personal. And they must have meant *something* special to me, even if on an unconscious level, because, well, I saved them.
Folks, do NOT underestimate the value of communicating with your donors and your constituents – as Smith Barney (ask your mom) would say – the “old-fashioned way.”
Until next time. Onward and rightward…
Dr. Chuck Muth, PsD
Professor of Psephology (homeschooled)
“How to Get More Votes, More Donors & More Volunteers”
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What’s Wrong with the Mail?
By Jeff Schreifels
We’ve had an e-mail culture for a good 15 years now. Remember how exciting e-mail was when it first appeared? I read everything. Now, I delete most of it.
Remember how we used to wait for the mail to come? Now, it’s almost an afterthought.
Why do we delete our e-mails and only casually look at mail today? Because they’re not personal anymore.
This is an opportunity for you as someone who works for major donors. When was the last handwritten letter or note you sent to one of your donors? When was the last article you either cut out of a magazine or newspaper and sent in a personal, handwritten envelope to you donor?
A couple of weeks ago, I arranged a 50th birthday party for a friend of mine. We all had a great time on a Saturday evening. On Tuesday, when I checked the mail, there was a handwritten envelope with my name on it. I literally threw the other mail on the table and immediately opened the envelope.
What was it? A thank you from my good friend telling me how much he appreciated the birthday celebration and, more importantly, our friendship. Folks, that card is still sitting on my desk. I cannot tell you how much a personal card like that meant to me.
My friend could have easily just shot me an e-mail, and that would have been fine. But to know he took the time to actually write some words on a piece of paper, address it, and put a stamp on it really made me feel special.
Remember how you felt when you received those holiday cards in the mail a couple of months ago? You couldn’t wait to open them.
Because mail has become so IMPERSONAL in today’s society, it has actually created an opportunity for you to reach out to your donors and make a meaningful impact in a personal way.
STOP e-mailing and start mailing to your donors. Yes, I know it’s going to take more time and effort…but that’s the point. It will make an impact on your donor.
Okay, I’m not saying stop e-mailing entirely. IF your donor loves to communicate that way, great. However, remember, you are not your donors. Most major donors are in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Receiving personal mail is a wonderful thing. Heck, it’s a wonderful thing for anyone.
We’re all looking for ways to reach out to our donors. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all great tools. But, don’t forget that ancient and personal communication called the U.S. Mail.
It will make an impact!