Newton's Laws of Fundraising #85 - Handwritten Notes Still Carry the Day


"The ultimate status symbol in an era of digital communication? The written word."

The headline from an online news story confirmed what we in fundraising already know; a handwritten note conveys a personal warmth and regard often missing in an era of emojis and emails.

It need not be an expensive or complicated medium. My tools of the trade are pictured above. The stamps were the most expensive items in the photo, but those I correspond with need not know that. Lately, the Goodwill in East Peoria has sold a laundry basket of brand new, Crane Co. 100% cotton stationery; the gold standard. I bought much of it, for a song. I even found some monogrammed with an N. Score!

One my clients and I met with a local CEO yesterday. He will have a handwritten note from me mailed to him today, on quality stationery with a whimsical stamp. This correspondence will stick out from his usual stack of mail. It will be a bright spot in an otherwise dreary pile of offers, invoices and requisitions.

It will also gently convey "personal." This is important, as it will ensure that my note gets opened by the CEO himself and not his assistant.

In the note, I will mention how enjoyable it was to sit down with him and learn more about his company and their commitment to helping others. I will thank him for considering our request (which, in itself, is a gentle confirmation of the ask and reminds him to put the ask through to the powers that be at his company). I will tell him how much I appreciate him taking time out from his incredibly busy schedule--especially this time of year. I will invite him to continue the conversation anytime it's convenient and to follow up with any questions he might have. I will sign it "warmly" or "best regards" or some other cordiality. I will include my business card.

Remember, for many of the decision-makers we meet with in our fundraising work, our meeting with them is a bright spot in their day. It's a chance to get out of the office and see some real good being done in our community. They can let their hair down a bit and enjoy a respite from their daily drudgery. The canary yellow envelope with a handwritten address is an extension of that pleasant time we had yesterday.

Take the time. Write the note. Stand out from the crowd. Be memorable. You might just get the gift and you'll be, pardon the pun, noteworthy.


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