We are fortunate to be able to make donations to several different charitable organizations. Once a year Eric and I sit down and make a giving plan about which organizations we will support and how much our gift should be. Then I go through and make all of our contributions in one fell swoop. Within a week, I receive a stream of acknowledgments from the organizations. The contrast from one organization to the next is truly enlightening.
Not-so-good – Because of some volunteer work Eric did, a benefactor offered to make a special one-time contribution to a charitable organization on his behalf. This contribution was ten times more than the one we usually make. The organization simply sent us a standard, form letter acknowledgment. I can assure you that when make our giving plan next year we will leave not include this charity.
Better – Many organizations sent us a form letter with a personalized note on the bottom. Following are two great examples, one from CASA and the other from Jewish Family Services, that I particularly liked because I could tell that the author did not write the same thing on every note they signed.
Best – The best note was from Laura L. Rose Clawson with the Nature Conservancy. Her note was handwritten, however, I am including the entire text below so that I can point out some items that I think were particularly effective.
Mr. & Mrs. Morgenstern-
Fifteen yeas of support, membership and dedication to the Nature Conservancy is an inspiring commitment. Thank you for your contribution to support our work here in Kansas, and thank you for what I can only guess is a staunch belief in our mission to protect nature for all species. Please know that you can call on me as a local contact any time you would like to learn more about our work. Have you ever been to a Kansas or Missouri Conservancy preserve?
With sincere thanks again-
Laura L. Rose Clawson
If you would like additional information about the impact of a handwritten note see Eric’s blog post.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded by messages, the most effective communications are often those that are simple and said quietly, from the heart.Tagged best practices, CASA, Executive Insights, Jewish Family Services, Morningstar Communications, Nature Conservancy, Shanny Morgenstern, Thank You Notes
Remember when you were first learning to drive? Your mentor probably told you to place your hands at 10 and 2, and hold the steering wheel steady. But if you hold it completely still, eventually, you’ll veer off the road.
Ahh, this is so true in life.
How many times do we say to ourselves, “Everything is all right; it’s all good. Now, if we can just keep things ‘as is,’ we’ll be fine.”
But things never stay exactly as is. It takes constant course corrections to keep moving forward in an intentional manner. And we’re never too old to keep learning.
For more than 20 years, we’ve attended Spring Conference for PRSA Counselors Academy, the annual professional development event that has taught us more than any other single resource. We learn and share our best secrets with our peers from around the country. And each year, we hear that small, continuous changes are the key to keeping moving forward. Part of that change includes how we look at our business.
For example, all months aren’t created equal. In 2012, February (even with the leap day) has only 21 workdays, while August has 23. That’s a 10 percent difference, but at Morningstar Communications, we’ve never accounted for this before. Duh. This is what I call a B.F.O. (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). It’s time for us to make a course correction on our expectations, now factoring in how many workdays there are in each month. This is just one pearl we learned at Spring Conference this year.
I’ve led agencies for decades (wow, that makes me sound old – but if you call me a FOSSIL, I’ll take that as a compliment because fossils are Fabulous, Often-Sought, Still Inspiring Leaders!) and I’m always learning new things.
But some things don’t change, including our foundation employee philosophy:
Hire excellent people. Empower them. Be there when they need help. Otherwise, stay out of their way and sing their praises.
That’s been our approach at Morningstar Communications, and that core philosophy doesn’t change. But how we apply our philosophies is constantly evolving.
Singers know they need to push increasingly more air to maintain the same sound. Athletes know as the competition wears on, it takes more effort to get the same results. And all business leaders understand that the more things change, the more things stay the same.
Small changes lead to big results. As Dori from “Finding Nemo” told herself frequently, “Just keep swimming.” I’d add – we all need to look up from time-to-time to recalibrate our position – and make the appropriate small corrections that keep us on the pathway for success.
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will RogersTagged Eric Morgenstern, LIfelong learning, Morningstar Communications
It’s a great time for England. From Will and Kate’s one year anniversary to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to the 2012 Summer Olympics, England has a lock on positive marketing this year.
England’s marketing blitz started in 2011 with the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April, where all eyes were glued to the dress, the kiss and of course the fascinators, or hats as we Americans might call them.
Today, our friends across the pond, and my favorite national morning hosts – the good folks at Good Morning America, are celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Sixty years on the throne. That’s quite a feat and has been celebrated with pomp and circumstance not only abroad, but here in the States with several Katie Couric specials and coverage on national news outlets.
Next month, England will host the 2012 Summer Olympics bringing top athletes and visitors from around the world to experience all the country has to offer. And for those not attending in person, modern technology will bring them the highs and lows of the games, and surely the sights and sounds of London.
The world’s fascination with the monarchy and continued support of the Olympic games led to a great year of branding for England. We’ll all watch next month as the country takes on its next opportunity to brand itself to the world.Tagged England, Marketing, Morningstar Communications, Tricia Jaworski