Monday, 13 January 2014

How not to do Thank You letters, unless you are Steve Martin

I, like many I am sure, read this wonderful book over Christmas, and I did laugh at this letter from Steve Martin.

Steve Martin wrote this 'highly personalised' letter in response to the fan mail he received. Simple, entertaining, personal... well kind of, just what you would expect from Steve Martin.  But he could get away with it, as I dare say he was being 'funny' and the overt token and random personalisation probably made the letter for the people receiving them.  Many of the them were probably framed!

However, beware of a generic thank you letter. Those that are punctuated with a few merged fields - it is something we, as an industry do quite badly in my opinion.

The worst letters are the ones crafted to be in response to 'ad hoc' gifts where they are not identified as being in response to a particular appeal or campaign but just seen as a general unprompted gift.

These are the letters that are a 'catch all'.  The ones quite often written as an after thought, rarely updated with new and exciting information and frequently full of rhetoric about reaching xxx people and helping charity do x,y,z vaguely.  And when you read them, they look and feel as though little effort went into them.

As much as thanking and asking are about good manners and politeness - the 'thank you' as much as the 'please' needs to be heartfelt and genuine.  I am not saying we can physically write each and every letter on our PCs for our kind and lovely donors, but we can work much, much harder in making it look and feel as though we do and that starts from valuing every donation, whatever the channel and motivation and ensuring we are set up to do so with warmth and gratitude.

Thanks as ever for stopping by.

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