When I send a friend a gift and she writes, seals, stamps and mails me a hand-written thank-you note I know she got my gift and I know she appreciated it. When you take the time to hand write notes to your volunteers and donors they are being sent an important message: That you notice them and that you value them.
A hand-written note reinforces that you think the reader is important. And feeling important, needed and relevant is what motivates donors and volunteers alike to stay connected to the nonprofit organizations they support.
When was the last time someone wrote you a personal letter using a pen instead of a keyboard? It doesn’t happen as often as it used to and when it does it really stands out. A hand-addressed envelope is probably the first thing you open from your mail pile, and for good reason. It’s refreshing to see words written on a page. And handwriting indicates that it’s a personal note, something someone who knows you took time to write and send. So it’s sure to be interesting.
I received a note card from the executive director of an animal welfare organization I support, and it impressed me because she didn’t have to send it. I’d been on the phone with her just a few weeks before, and she had thanked me then. And I had already received my standard, computer-generated acknowledgement letter when I made my last donation.
The note thanked me, very personally, for my past gifts and she reminded me of the difference my donations had made for cats and dogs in need. And because making that difference is what I gave the money for in the first place, I was reminded that this organization had used my money wisely. Just as important, I felt they noticed me and that they needed me. This makes me very likely to give again the next time they ask.
So remember that the hand-written note can be one of your most powerful marketing and fundraising tools. It sends a message far beyond the words on the page.
Jennie Winton is a Founding Partner of Mission Minded, a 25-year marketing veteran sought for her expertise in branding nonprofit organizations, and a one-on-one leadership coach.
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