A mini-rant? The venting of a pet-peeve? Perhaps a bit of advice? I’m not sure how to categorize what I’m about to say.
Our church gives money to many different missions organizations in our community, our country and around the world. It’s not uncommon to get a nice Christmas card from missions we have supported in the past year. It’s a very nice personal touch. There is often a hand-written note, which I can pass along to the congregation.
What leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the “faux-Christmas card which is actually a fundraising letter”. The three key features of such a faux-Christmas card are, as follows…
- Printed text that is made to look like personal handwritten text, but in reality is not.
- A direct appeal for funds after the “thank you” for giving last year.
- A return envelope.
When I encounter these three things, I wonder what the true purpose of the card is? Is it to say thank you, or is it to raise more funds?
Lets put this in the context of a personal gift. Say someone gives you a gift for Christmas and you want to send them a thank you card. How often do you include something like…
By the way, my birthday is on May 2, I’ve included a self-addressed stamped envelope to facilitate your sending me a gift card or a check, your choice. Thank you.
NEVER! You NEVER include an appeal for another gift when you write a thank you for a previous gift. I think this would be a good practice for organizations too.
LET ME BE CLEAR: I have no problem with getting a fundraising letter. We get them all the time. It’s tough out there for non-profits and many, if not most, of them do great work. What I don’t understand is using the Christmas card thank you as a pretext for fundraising. It’s probably just me, but I don’t like it.
Does this happen to you? How do you feel about it? How does it impact your view of the organization who sent it?