handwriting-writingI completed an experiment recently; I saved all of the mail that came into our household for one week. You would be amazed! So much junk mail. Several bills. A few medical items. I collected our mail to create a hands-on learning experience in a class I was teaching at the Nonprofit Leadership Center.

Tom Ahern, in his book Keep Your Donors, says we divide our mail into three categories:

“Stuff I canNOT ignore, or something bad will happen to me.”
“Stuff I can SAFELY ignore, and NOTHING bad will happen to me.”
“Stuff I could be interested in. I’ll save that for a second look.”

As a class, we dug through the Leonard family’s week of mail and sorted accordingly.
We found several hand addressed items: a wedding invitation, a birthday card, and a post card thank you note from a favorite charity. While we were sorting it became crystal clear to me what I’ve been teaching for many years: hand written items are very powerful. Their power/value has grown even more in the age of electronic communication.

Let’s be honest, the mail we send from our nonprofit will never be in stack one. The “stuff I can’t ignore” stack is for bills, insurance information, and items from my children’s schools. No matter how much our donor may care about us, our fundraising communications can be ignored without consequence. That leaves us fighting for a spot in the pile of interesting things.

The next time your procrastinate sending handwritten thank you notes, ask yourself how you are going to move from stack two to stack three? (another way to say it: how do you keep from getting thrown away?) The answer is: write something by hand. How can we make this practical?

[message type=”custom” width=”100%” start_color=”#FFFFFF” end_color=”#FFFFFF” border=”#fb7200″ color=”# fb7200″]

Try this experiment:

  • Create a list of 200 donors who have supported your organization.
  • Print the list.
  • Each Monday morning put 5 notecards on your desk.
  • During the week, look for reasons to write a personal note to one of those donors. Each time you do, put a check mark on the list.
  • Before you go home on Friday, make sure you have written your five notes for the week.
  • Repeat.[/message][su_spacer]

If my math is correct, after 40 weeks, you will have written 200 notecards. Watch what happens. Your relationships with your donors will begin to grow and from that your fundraising will be more successful in the long run.


In the midst of a world where so many are disengaged, cynical and apathetic, isn’t it time for some fresh air? Isn't it time to join together in building a refreshing, new community founded upon “real” relationships, “real” thought leadership, and “authentic” engagement? NO Clutter. NO Spam. NO NO Fees. NO Promotions. NO Kidding. SIMPLY Pure Engagement Unplugged. ☕️ CLICK TO GRAB YOUR SEAT IN OUR NEW ENGAGE CAFÉ ☕️

Previous articleEntrepreneurs MUST Be Solution Oriented
Next articleLeftover Negatives
Sara Leonard
IN HER 25 years of nonprofit work, Sara has held many titles and been a solutions-oriented advancement professional. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Tampa and an MBA from the University of South Florida. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive and has been named as a Master Trainer by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. As the founding director of the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Fund Development Academy, Sara created an extensive curriculum of fundraising and board governance courses. She has had the privilege of working with organizations to achieve their fundraising goals through instruction, coaching and consulting. She continues to serve as an instructor for the Fund Development Academy. She has worked in the nonprofit sector raising funds for healthcare, educational and cultural organizations. She managed development operations including identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors, managing annual giving, major gift cultivation and solicitation, training and management of staff, board and volunteers, foundation and corporate support, sponsorships, annual funds, special events and in-kind support. She is widely considered an expert in crisis fundraising and has guided organizations through capital campaigns – both large and small. Sara serves on the board of directors of the Suncoast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and New Tampa Young Life. She is a former board member of the AFP Florida Caucus. She lives in Tampa with her husband and two children.
avatar
2501
  Subscribe  
Notify of