i recently had the honor of contributing to the pcma magazine -an online monthly periodical for an organization i belong to professionally (the private club marketing association) for a second time. the subject of my article –the lost art of the handwritten thank you is something that i hold near and dear to my heart. despite the ease of technology, i have been steadfast in my commitment of taking the time to hand-write notes of gratitude. it’s something my grandmother instilled in me at a young age and an attribute i’m very grateful to her for fostering. seeing as it was always well-received in my personal life, over the course of the last few years i began incorporating this gesture into my professional life, too. and i’ve been amazed at how a little act of kindness has had a much larger impact. so since the pcma website’s content is password protected, i thought i’d transcribe the article here as well.
The Lost Art of the Handwritten Thank You
Much like the dinosaurs and cassette tapes, it’s only a matter of time before we add the handwritten note to the list of items to have become extinct. In a world driven by social media and the latest technology, we’ve exchanged pens for keyboards and replaced paper note cards with blinking cursors on a computer screen and in the process lost sight of the value of the artfully inscribed.
My grandmother taught me at a very young age the importance of a handwritten thank you note. That while you may express your gratitude in person, sending another tangible reminder of your appreciation of their gift or service would always be well-received. To this day, I still keep a pack of blank note cards on hand for any extra “Thank You”s I might need to pass along to a family member or friend. And it’s a tradition I’m very proud to have had instilled by her in me.
A few years ago, I attended our annual PCMA Conference. In addition to a myriad of other tips and tricks, hidden within the packet of provided materials was a form letter for a thank you note one could employ in recognizing their members who had sponsored new applicants that year. It was then that I had a mini epiphany –notes of gratitude didn’t have to be confined to just my personal life, the humble handwritten thank you note could have just as much power in the professional realm, too.
So once I returned back to my Club, I sprang into action. In a simple Word document, I designed a template for a “Thank You” card that incorporated the Club’s signature colors and logo; creating a template guaranteed that I could mass produce as needed at little to no extra cost to the Club. After the proximate Membership Committee meeting, I identified each of the approved applicant’s primary sponsors and sat down to write out a handwritten message thanking them for their sponsorship and assistance over the course of the vetting process, using the template as a loose guide. I sent off the letters the next day and began receiving positive feedback almost overnight -each sponsor commenting how nice it was to have received a handwritten expression of gratitude, over the casual email of which they had become accustomed.
In our industry, we certainly experience our fair share of busier seasons. In those times, we’re lucky if we can spout off a “thank you” email in between Club tours and processing applications. However, in experiencing first-hand what an impact taking five minutes out of the day to compose an inscribed note can have, it’s certainly a sacrifice that can reap a greater reward. Because what a hand-written note conveys is that the recipient is valued. Our members know how busy we are, therefore when we take a moment out of our day to recognize them on an individual and personal level; it makes them feel respected, appreciated, and above all else special. In turn, they will come to associate those feelings of worth with the membership sponsorship process as well as being a Club member on the whole. Hopefully the positive experience will make them more likely to sponsor a candidate in the future. When you make a member feel validated, you make an ally for life.
So the next time you pull up an empty email draft to shoot off Mr. So-and-So a quick “thanks” for sponsoring the newest addition to your Club, grab a pen instead. Sure it may cost five minutes of your time and $0.49 from your wallet, but those are small prices to pay for the pay-off that is to come.
image via ella publishing co.