On Behalf of Me

With just a week to go until the New Year, now is the time to reflect on 2014 and to thank those around us for all the help and support they have brought to us and to others.

It is also a big time for online donations. For reasons that have something to do with the tax deadline but more to do with ritual and habit, the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and especially December 30th and 31st, are the biggest days all year for online donations. Naturally, our inboxes are flooded with some combination of “thank you’s” and “it’s your last chance to give.”

I am happy to receive the subset of these emails that are from people I actually know or from people who are thanking me for things I actually did.

What drives me bonkers are the emails from organizations, emails that have no name attached to them and where I cannot reply and get to an actual, identifiable human being on the other end. I don’t want to be thanked by an organization, asked for anything from an organization, or wished happy holidays on behalf of anyone but a real, living, breathing person.

It may feel overwhelming to imagine the logistics of hearing back from, and then having to reply to, the too-many people who might respond to your email. But then it’s time to ask whether it makes sense to send that email in the first place. Any correspondence you initiate in which getting a response from the recipient will be a problem and not an opportunity….well, that isn’t a correspondence, it’s spam.

To get tactical for a second, there are four places where your name can (or cannot) show up in the emails you send:

  1. The “From” name that appears in someone’s email client
  2. The associated email address
  3. The name that is signed at the bottom of the email
  4. The email address that comes up when someone hits reply to your note (not always the same as #2)

At least three of these four should be names of living, breathing, human beings.  And I should never, ever hit “reply” and have the To: field read anything like us3-a22c2dfe-1779e987@conversation01.mailchimpapp.com

On behalf of me, and only me, happy holidays.

3 thoughts on “On Behalf of Me

  1. Well done. And while we’re on the topic of notes, let us not forget the power of the hand-written note. While not possible when sending millions of reach-outs it’s probably a good idea as a thank you when a donation has been made. Then, in subsequent years, that person donating person just might remember the hand-written note they once received after a donation and it just might be an annual happening.

    Growing-up in a university town, South Bend, IN with my Father Dean of The Business School at Notre Dame he was constantly meeting with and entertaining CEOs and government leaders. He made it very clear that a hand-written note was always a good idea. And the little things seem to matter most to those the higher they rose on the rings of the ladder.

    For the past two years I have been blessed to return to my alma mater, Notre Dame and teach a one-week MBA class. It allows me to honor my Father and to continue with his philosophies as I help guide these future leaders of tomorrow with the simple things . . . like the hand written note.

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