As I finally get around to some spring-cleaning, it is amazing how many handwritten notes I discover. I held on to these notes for no other reason than someone took the time to put a personal touch to correspondence. As I get my mail each day, invariably the first piece of mail that I open is the handwritten note. Often it is the smallest, plainest piece of mail, except there is handwriting on the front.
In a time of digital interaction, the analog approach screams for attention. It also solicits reaction as well, if not better, as any flashy four-color mailing. The marketing crowd is catching on, as one of vendors has sent me examples of a “pen” addresser they are offering. As I cleaned out boxes from previous jobs, I found a hand-written note from a supervisor who I bumped heads with. Probably, the nicest thing he had ever given me was a note that recognized me for an event where I exceeded goals.
Handwritten notes provide a unique value. They provide recognition when you do not have a budget for bonuses. To supporters, they mean more than a nameplate or a certificate. When emails are ignored, handwritten notes command attention.
In a world where people look for quick responses, and try to provide emotion with images, handwriting provides all of that. It could be the deliberate nature of a stroke; the choice of a word; the added exclamation point; an enthusiastic swoosh on a signature. Handwriting, alone, provides fluid emotion that the digital world cannot give.
Often, to the recipient, there is a sense of urgency to opening a handwritten note that a flashy flyer struggles to evoke. So I encourage you, the next time you want to touch a valued donor or customer, try a personal, handwritten note. If you want to recognize a colleague for a job well done, but have no budget for lunch or bonuses, write your sentiment.
If done well, it will solicit just as unique a response.