heart mailMy stepdaughter, Charlotte, turned 10 recently. One of her favorite things is to volunteer with a local Philadelphia non-profit that feeds the homeless. When we were asking her what she would like to do for her birthday this year, she thought of a great idea.
Charlotte says, “Since we can’t see anyone right now, what if we asked all our friends and family to send me a birthday card and send a $10 bill in it. Then, I’ll donate it to Sunday Love Project (her favorite charity). That way I can hear from everyone and help the homeless at the same time.”
Her mother and I thought it was a great idea. And, if you knew Charlotte, you’d agree that this would definitely be the best way to celebrate her 10th birthday.
I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t prepared for how powerful this would be. After her mother put the word out about 10 days before her birthday, the cards started coming in.
At first it was just one or two. Then each day it grew. For Charlotte, the mere anticipation of the postal worker driving up to the mailbox was incredibly exciting. In all, she received over 60 birthday cards.
But the real power was when she got to open each card. Because many people didn’t have the ability to go to the store and buy a card, most of the cards she received were handmade. The thought and care that went into those cards blew us away. Not just the creative aspects, but also the words people carefully chose to write to Charlotte.
It left us all in tears, and the impact it made on Charlotte was an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy. She was able to raise over $600 for charity. Needless to say, even in the midst of a pandemic, birthdays can still be amazing for kids!
This experience reminded me of a video I watched, where three major donors were asked (separately) what was the best “thank you” they ever received from an organization they gave a gift to. Surprisingly, each of them said it was a personal, handwritten note.
A simple handwritten note. That’s it.
Not until this experience with Charlotte’s birthday idea did it finally dawn on me what an impact a simple, handwritten note has on human being. I mean, emails don’t do it, a phone call doesn’t really do it, but that handwritten note has a power in it like no other.
I believe that’s what made us all weep the morning we opened those cards and read them. The fact that someone took time away from their day, sat down and wrote something special about another person is very emotional and powerful. I can’t explain it any further than that. It just is.
So, in a time when we’re all grieving, we’re out of sorts, we’re fearful and maybe even angry or worried, sending your donor a note to encourage, thank and show gratitude for her support will create a meaningful connection for her. She won’t forget it. (Tweet it!)
Commit yourself this week to reach out to your donors by sending a personal note, card or letter. I know what kind of impact it will make.