The perpetual non-profit question: To send a holiday card or not to send a holiday card

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Send a holiday card or do not send a holiday card, that is the question. Every year since 1991, I have tackled this issue, not personally but professionally. My family sends Christmas cards to family members, friends and some acquaintances. This is not a problem – it's a good way to share news, convey best wishes, and in general stay in touch.

So, what is the professional problem? Are not these same benefits available to a non-profit organization when it sends Christmas cards, or more generally, any kind of holiday card to its constituents? It depends.

If non-profit organizations send out custom cards, I think they generate a positive return on investment. In other words, if non-profit organizations, no matter how many cards they choose to post, insert individualized news, note, name, that it seems to me that the card is worth it. Without this customization, I'm not sure if

Mass Mailed Cards
When I served for 17 years as a university president, my name and my title have appeared on countless organizations of VIP lists. In the vernacular, I was "someone". As I was apparently considered worthy, or at least that my position was considered important, my office was receiving dozens of cards: Christmas but also Thanksgiving and sometimes birthday cards.

What I found fascinating was that almost all of these cards were computer generated. . My name was nowhere else than on the label of the envelope. No messages relevant to my relationship with the organization could be found inside. No news that related in any way with who I was or even what the university was vis-à-vis the non-profit organization that was sending the card. No real signature of the president of the nonprofit organization, even many times that I personally knew the nonprofit fellow. Nothing.

It even happened with birthday cards. I received cards from non-profit organizations during the week of my birthday, but the card contained no written message and no name. Unbelievable. Try this with your spouse: give him a birthday or birthday card without a message or your name.

Even more interesting to me, since I left the presidency of the university, I do not get any more cards from most of these nonprofit organizations. This is true for the organizations with which I have personally maintained close relationships and this is true for organizations whose leadership I still know.

The message I got is that I do not have much importance now. "Because I was in a position of non-profit organizations considered influential and potentially helpful to them, but even then, to repeat myself, I apparently did not have much of importance because I was receiving a card simply generated by a tickler file.

Some nonprofit organizations and their leaders, I know, are proud of their length their list of Christmas cards has become. I heard presidents proclaiming a figure as if it was a sign of great success.You know, my Rolodex is bigger than your Rolodex.Or in more contemporary terms, my mailing list is bigger than your mailing list.

But Does It Matter – Does It Mean Something – Do All These Impersonal Cards Really Reinforce The Mission And Vision Of The Nonprofit Organization? Voters are they overflowing with joy when they receive such a card? Is the practice of sending non-personalized cards to scores or hundreds, if not thousands, an effective tool for advancement? I do not think so.

Custom Cards
When it came time to decide if I had to spend the hard-earned college money, I wondered, "Is it worth it?" I always consider the same question every year in a different role of non-profit leadership. Why should I spend or how much should I spend non-profit funds to send a card? It depends.

I do not recommend to non-profit organizations to send greeting cards. I am not against a long list either. What I am suggesting is that sending cards in an impersonal manner will not have as positive an impact as sending personalized cards. So, if I'm responsible for deciding to spend money from a non-profit organization – resources that could go to operations or programs fulfilling the mission – I want to adopt a method that is as strong and ultimately also as effective as possible. For me, these are personalized cards.

Every Thanksgiving I spend several hours in front of football games signing Christmas cards. I choose a pen usually with blue, but really anything but black ink. This ensures that my name and message are detached from the typical black font of the printed message on the card.

It takes longer, but I like to write the name of the person, Fred or Fred and Mary or Mr. and Mrs. Smith, depending on how well I know them. Follow this with a sentence about the work of the nonprofit organization, for example: "The year has been difficult but fruitful" or "Thank you for helping us touch life" or "At the end of the year, we are looking forward to launching the new program. "Then follow this with some kind of Christmas greeting or holiday:" Blessings to you and you in this season "or" Merry Christmas and Happy New Year " "or" Best wishes in this wonderful time of the year. "Finally, I sign my name.

I guarantee that this method will attract the attention of the constituent who receives the card. Why? Because I respond to personalized cards, so I know others are doing it, and because people who have received these cards have later expressed appreciation for them. And a personalized card will stand out in the pile on the dining room table or on the desk, as it's the only one that carries a personal handwritten greeting.

Now you say, "I do not have time to do it. "What am I saying," You do not have the time not to do that. "Or if you're really in a hurry, reduce your list of Christmas cards. Do not send more than what you have time and willingness to personalize.Despite all this, the people who receive them will feel special and esteemed, which, after all, is what a nonprofit organization hopes its constituents will feel.

E-Cards
The phenomenon of the electronic card is relatively new.Some non-profit organizations use this method to send holiday vows to their constituents – it's inexpensive and instantaneous.But the same rule "Custom electronic cards offer a better return on investment than non-personalized electronic cards"

And although I'm not anti-technology, I would say that a handwritten note sent by postal mail generates a R answer more positive than something sent by email. and easily deleted. This can be an attitude or an assessment of the old school, but the obsolete adage, "High Tech, High Touch," is still applicable. People appreciate and remember to be "touched".

Personalized Mass Cards or E-mailed
After all this you can say, "If I reduce my list to a handful I personalize, our non-profit organization share news and engage our constituents . "OK, maybe …

If a non-profit organization concludes that it has to send dozens or hundreds or thousands of holiday cards, I strongly recommend that these cards be personalized." 39, in an identifiable way, do not just take them to the printer and drop them in the mailbox.Do not just acquire an electronic card and pass it on to an extensive database.Customize.

Customize is different from personalize.Customize means that the recipient's name is on the card and that the non-profit manager has signed the card with a personal message, even if it is a card Electronic Customization means that the nonprofit organization has added content that somehow identifies the card as a nonprofit card, not a stock purchase or even a special design that does not includes no new lle or non-profit name

of thanks, and the name and title of someone, even if not personally signed. Do not send cards from "The Staff" or, worse, no source of origin other than the return address on the envelope, or an institutional name like "The University" or "XYZ Ministries". Put the name of a person, perhaps the chairman of the board, the president or the vice president for advancement, on the card. Almost every name is better than no name

Conclusion
Non-profit organizations spend thousands of dollars each year by sending holiday cards to voters. But this practice, especially long lists, can be more of a cultural tradition than a good methodology for advancement.

The question of sending a holiday card or not sending a holiday card must be resolved on the basis of perceived efficiency. Since the best advancement concerns relationships, it seems logical to conclude that the best holiday cards reinforce personal ties with the nonprofit. We build relationships by customizing at least one mailing, but better yet, customizing it.

Sign non-profit vacation cards with news, notes and names.

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Source by Rex Rogers

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