The power of the note card

Note cards:  Simple.  Affordable.  Personal.

However, the personal note card is often overlooked as an effective communication tool.  In these days of modern technology and social media, nonprofits are often striving to keep up with the newest form of communication.  I am a true believer in technology, but I also urge nonprofit professionals to pick up your pens and write an “old fashion” note to someone.

Here are some ways writing notes can benefit your nonprofit:

  • Fundraising
    Handwritten notes are great tools to build relationships with donors.  I write notes not to ask for money, but to give a personal thanks to donors for their donation. (in addition to the form letter they receive for tax purposes)
    This year, during the month of December, I sent a number of note cards to key donors, sharing with them how grateful I am for their support and telling them how their donation made a difference in helping us fulfill our mission in 2011.  I even included a photo of a family served by our organization this year.  It was very well received by our donors!
  • Networking
    What better way to connect with others than to send them a note congratulating them or recognizing their achievements?  Perhaps their recent promotion is in a newspaper clipping you can send them, or maybe they recently celebrated a life cycle event (wedding, birthday, birth of a child), or perhaps you enjoyed the program they presented at a recent luncheon… whatever it is – consider it an opportunity to connect with them via a handwritten note and further build your relationship.
  • Volunteer Recognition
    Handwritten notes are great ways to recognize volunteers that go above and beyond in supporting your organization.  Yes, I am sure many of your organizations present plaques, certificates or some sort of chotskies to volunteers… but a personal note from the organization recognizing them and communicating to them how valuable their work is to the organization is also very valuable.

As you take on the world of writing personal notes… here are some helpful tips:

  1. Use branded note cards.  Have your nonprofit organization’s logo prominently displayed on the note card.  This reinforces your organization’s brand.
  2. Use a real stamp.  Metered postage doesn’t count as personal… put a real stamp on the letter. After all, in order for the message to be effective, it has to be opened and read.
  3. Re-read before mailing.  Especially with the absence of spell check, and just to be safe… be sure and take a second glance before sending.

But most importantly, the key is to make it a habit.  When you make it a habit to write personal notes to others, you can stay out of the “I don’t have time” trap, and you realize that with only a few minutes of your time, and at a very low cost, you can create a very personal and effective communication with an individual important to your organization.

PS – Yes, I have ordered 150 new note cards for me to send out during 2012!

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About Dr. Sarah Wolin Mackey

Putting theory into practice at nonprofit organizations.
This entry was posted in Nonprofit Management and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The power of the note card

  1. I’m a huge fan of writing notes, it’s so rare now to get something personal in the mail that I think it really makes a statement to the person you’re sending it to.

  2. Pingback: How to Get Hired When Interviewing at a Nonprofit | Sarah W Mackey

  3. Pingback: Demystifying the magic of the media | Sarah W Mackey

  4. Pingback: Board fundraising: Writing a check is only the start | Sarah W Mackey

  5. Pingback: 35 ways to thank your donors | Sarah W Mackey

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