Dear Everybody. Topic: Thank-you letters. Does anyone read them?

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I’m sure my parents wish I continued a career in broadcast journalism or advertising versus giving my soul (and nearly my house and car) to the world of non-profit work. (Side note: I did donate a car to NPR once, but I believe that was more to my benefit than their’s.) However, one thing my parents would be proud of is raising me with manners — have a firm handshake, look into people’s eyes when speaking/listening, ask to be excused, and at the top of the list — write thank-you letters.

This last one, most would challenge, can be written-off (no pun intended) and excused with the acceptance and expectance of digital communication. This, I used to feel, was not acceptable. I love getting thank-you letters. It’s the process and effort that someone takes to send a letter (via the US postal service) that often resonates more appreciation to me than the actual content of the letter. But then there’s the issue of unnecessary waste, not being environmentally-conscious, and a waste of money?

To date in 2012, I have sent out 804 thank-you letters on 804 pieces of paper, requiring 804 envelopes and $378.36 worth of postage. Do the math and you’ll see that doesn’t work out to .44 cents per letter because I also send them to Mexico and Canada, which cost .85 cents. This doesn’t include the cost of letterhead, labels & envelopes or the cost of printer ink, which is always highway robbery.  Nor does it include the hours of envelope-licking (we even have a tool for that), adhering labels, and stamping.

Now, on the other side of the thank-you letter topic… I could so easily write and schedule an email thank-you by the stroke of a few keys with a very personal and genuine message from your’s truly.  I get the checks and see every donation that comes in.  My words in those email newsletters are real and written by me even though you may think otherwise. Furthermore, when I send things via email, I get instant gratification and replies from caring and appreciative supporters! It’s so instantly rewarding! When I send a letter in the mail, I have never received anything back but “Unable to Forward. Return to Sender,” which really bums me out.

So, all that being said, I ask the question… does anyone read the thank-you letters I send? And, is it a waste or refreshing? Would you rather get a thank-you in your gmail inbox that you can quickly reply-to or delete without taking out the trash? Please advise. For now, I continue with the paper. However, I know I’ll get your input via an email (info at athletes4cancer.org) or a reply to this blog, but not in a letter form in the mail. :-)

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Sincerely,

Tonia Farman
Director of Good Things
Athletes for Cancer
tonia (at) athletes4cancer.org

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