5 Reasons Why Handwritten Notes Are Powerful

Technology is omnipresent in our lives. We live on our phones, use laptops to do work, and communicate through social media. But there’s an impact that can be made through a handwritten note that simply can’t be created with digital communication.Research shows that up to 100 instant messages can be sent by one person alone each day, with corporate email and text accounts receiving a massive amount of messages each and every day.

We are so used to this daily deluge that we quickly devalue the meaning behind a quick “thank-you” or “hello” in our inboxes. Receiving and reading so many messages can sometimes be overwhelming, and a lot of what is said is quickly forgotten.

It often seems like the world has gone almost entirely paperless – but there are still quite a few instances when it’s best to employ a handwritten letter when communicating with donors or clients.

Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at five compelling reasons why handwritten notes are powerful.

 

I Want to Discuss Postalgia’s Handwritten Note Service

 

1. More personal and thoughtful than emails or text messages

Although emails are quicker, they’re impersonal. When you handwrite a note to someone, it’s more thoughtful than an email and even artful – each letter is unique.

A handwritten personal note is an excellent way to show someone you care about them. The process of writing something down in cursive, then sending that note to another person in physical form prompts the recipient to appreciate the words on the page – and how much thought you put into the interaction.

A handwritten note to say thank you demonstrates a deeper investment than just texting someone or emailing them, which can help to strengthen a personal connection. It takes time, effort and money to buy paper, stamps etc., but the appreciation you receive in return will be greater – if done well.

 

2. Handwritten letters are not deleted

The permanence of handwritten messages is a big advantage. The physical nature makes them a powerful tool – more engaging and easier to read than electronic ones.

In today’s world, where most of our communications disappear into a black hole of our inboxes, we all realize the importance of preserving items that are important. A handwritten card or letter can be stashed away in a memory box or kept as something to remember for years to come – more so than an electronic message that may just stay unread if it isn’t opened right away.

Sure, it is true that handwritten follow-up letters take a lot more effort than email or text messaging, but it is definitely worth the extra effort. Personal notes are more intimate and have a greater impact on your clients.

 

3. Handwritten notes are authentic

Handwritten thank you notes are better at conveying genuine feelings and intentions. Text messages often come with a certain sense of insincerity. The sender can revise their message many times before sending it out for everyone else to see.

The ability to edit text messages can lead them to feel fake and inauthentic. Handwritten letters, however, preserve the true intent of your message without being edited before sending it off.

 

4. Letters (with a stamp) stand out

The handwritten note is fairly rare these days. When people receive a letter or card in the mail, they know it’s important. If you received a hand-addressed letter in the mail, would your first instinct be to throw it straight into the garbage? Unlikely.

The assumption is that whoever sent this particular note took the time (and care) to put what they have to say in writing. So even if the recipient doesn’t initially recognize the sender, they will open up that envelope for sure.

A handwritten note can serve as a powerful reminder of the interaction – a donation, a sale, even a conversation – that prompted the thank-you in the first place. It’s like refreshing your customer’s memory every time they receive a handwritten note.

 

5. Handwritten notes make your organization look professional

Handwritten notes go a long way in making you look like an organized professional. People will be impressed by your attention to detail and the effort that went into sending them something personal, even if it’s a follow-up related to a business transaction.It also takes planning and organization to draft the letter, put it into an envelope and send it off with a stamp. Your customer will know that you took the time and effort to get that letter to them.

You don’t have to pen handwritten notes yourself

Thanks to modern technology, you don’t have to spend your precious time handwriting notes for the same effect. Postalgia’s robots create handwritten pieces at scale for every organization’s size and budget. Customize your messages using your own writing style choice, with what you want to say and how you want to say it. We use genuine ink on paper and your unique design to ensure you stand out.

Let Postalgia write your notes for you!

Postalgia makes it so easy to send off personalized thank you cards with just a few simple steps:

Customize your design

Every aspect of your postcard or note, including the graphics and layout, is unique to you. We can even help create a brand new design if you need one.We print all images on a full-color, digital press. All cards and letters come with custom printing – logos, letterheads, and/or photographs.

See Postalgia’s Handwritten examples HERE

 

Choose your handwriting

Pick the style and ink color that best suits you and helps to convey your message more authentically. But, the customization doesn’t stop there. Choose from one of our dozens of handwriting styles, or write in your own handwriting. We offer handwriting styles ranging from neat to messy, from professional print to artistic script.

To write in your handwriting, all you will need to do is print off and fill out our handwriting capture form and send in a scan or clear photo of the form back to our team.

Craft your message

Personalize your note with the recipient’s name by carefully selecting from nearly limitless options. These messages are then inserted right into your letter.With Postalgia, there is no limit on how many variable fields you can use in your message; personalize the recipient name, the PS, or every single word.

It’s as easy as populating a spreadsheet with your variable fields – just like you would do with any mail merge – and our robots will swap in your variables for you. The result is a flawlessly crafted, personalized message to your recipient.

 

Print envelopes, fold stamps, and mail

We do everything for you – so you can concentrate on building your non-profit!

 

Make handwritten notes your competitive advantage

It’s time to integrate more personal and thoughtful communications with handwritten notes to stand out in a world of unlimited, on-demand communication channels that prioritize convenience over quality.

You can make handwritten notes your competitive advantage in only a few steps. Deepen your relationships and grow your business right now with the help of Postalgia.

Get A Sample

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How to Follow up with Volunteers

INTRODUCTION

Acknowledging your volunteers is just as important as acknowledging your donors, and you can do that by sending out a follow up!

In this article we are going to be looking at why, how, and when to follow up with your volunteers. Volunteers are the powerhouse of the organization! Knowing how to send follow ups and how to make them effective is KEY. Sending out those follow ups as soon as you can will result in a good volunteer experience and increase the likelihood that volunteers will return for more work, and even become donors!

 

WHY FOLLOW UP?

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Following up with your volunteers is important because volunteers are what keeps your nonprofit organization going. Volunteers donate their time and effort for a cause as long as it provides them with the personal satisfaction of doing good for others as well as a positive network of individuals who all care deeply about the cause. It is not only courteous, but necessary to follow up with them to gain valuable feedback about their experience with your nonprofit and give them more opportunities to donate. Follow-ups help volunteers feel in the loop and keep them involved in the work.

Apart from helping with your nonprofit’s mission, volunteers also seek charity work to gain experiences, network, learn new skills, add to their resume, and more. Sending out follow ups to gain feedback is beneficial to your organization and to volunteers. You can then use that feedback to improve your programs and it will increase the likelihood of volunteer’s returning, sending referrals to your organization, and building relationships.

Once you have established good relationships with your volunteers, it could result in them turning into donors down the line!

 

HOW?

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Following up with your volunteers can be as easy as sending an email. The point is to maintain good communication. But it is a good idea to show effort in the way you follow up with them. The way to show effort can be evident in how you follow up and what you say in your follow up.

 

3 Points to Always Include in your Follow Up:

  1. Acknowledgment of Gratitude: saying thank you in a personal way

  2. Progress Made: letting them know how their efforts have helped the cause

  3. Include a Survey: to gain insight of their experience

 

Make sure when you follow up with your volunteers, it reflects that you spent time and effort in contacting them. Volunteers put their time and effort into helping your organization, so you should do the same! Handwritten and personalized notes are an excellent way to show volunteers that their contribution is valuable and recognized. You should make it easy for them to respond back to you by including your email, phone number, or social media information.

 

WHEN?

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A good time to send a follow up is as soon as possible! Try to aim to get those follow ups out within one week of their experience. This is especially important when you want to gain feedback from your volunteers. This is because their experience will still be fresh in their mind. It will also add to their experience to get that extra thank you soon after they spent time volunteering. When you maintain good communication, it builds relationships. Strong relationships with your volunteers will turn into strong donor relationships! It is all about the long game!

 

CONCLUSION

To wrap things up, we covered why, how, and when to follow up with your volunteers. It is important because volunteers are essential to keeping operations running. A follow up can be sending an email to writing a letter, but remember to put in effort so that volunteers feel their work is being reciprocated. The sweet spot of sending out follow ups is within one week or as soon as possible.

GET OUT THOSE FOLLOW UPS!

 

BONUS TIP

Want to know how to increase your average donation amount? Here are 9 easy steps that will tell you just that!

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Authentic Communication with your Donors

INTRODUCTION

The nonprofit sector is in the business of people-helping-people. What better motivates people-helping-people than being authentic!?

This blog contains vital information about maintaining authentic communication with your donors. The 3 main takeaways are: Be true and consistent, attend to your donors, and create personal experiences. Adding personalized and specific details to your communication methods will make all the difference.

 

BE TRUE AND CONSISTENT

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All nonprofit organizations have a cause that they are passionate about. Before you communicate with your donors, you need to establish a set of values and beliefs that your organization follows. Make sure when you set up those values, you are being true to yourself and to your cause. To have authentic communication, you need to BE AUTHENTIC.

Once you identify your core principles, you must represent them in every message and any form of communication. You may not be popular with everyone, but at least you will be showing community members that you are true and consistent. The main point is to stick to your set of values and beliefs, but there are more Principles for Authentic Donor Communications that Build Relationships.

 

ATTEND TO YOUR DONORS

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Make sure to put effort into focusing on your donors. Remember, without your donors you can’t support your cause! Maintain relationships with donors by consistently communicating and creating opportunities to connect with them.

There are various ways to stay connected with your donors and maintain authentic communication. You can schedule regular meetings in person or virtually to provide the opportunity to interact with them. This is the time to have discussions about your organization’s progress and get the opinion of the members. You can ask questions like: Why are you passionate about the cause? What is your preferred method of communication? How would you like to take action?

You can also connect with your donors by sending them information via digital and physical communication methods.

 

WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR DONORS

Social Media
Community Events
Newsletters
Impact Reports
Thank You Notes
Website Blog
Google Forms Questionnaire

 

The main focus should always be on your donors, so you can build authentic relationships.

 

CREATE PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

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To keep up with authentic communication, you can create personal experiences! How do you do that? Well, make sure to keep donor profiles and use their names when sending emails, newsletters, donation cards, impact reports, and postcards. It is also important to consistently send messages to donors and volunteers to let them know your organization is working hard for the cause.

A little bit of effort goes a long way, especially when you want to create personalized  experiences. Emails and text messages only go so far and are often overlooked, so it is important to seek other forms of communication. Sending handwritten note cards and direct-mail packages addressed to specific donors, tells your members that you value their support.

 

CONCLUSION

To summarize, figure out what your nonprofit is passionate about helping, stick to your values and beliefs, focus on including your donors, and organize personalized experiences that show your donors how much effort you put in.

BONUS TIP

Put the effort in and delight your donors with a handwritten note!

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

7 Most Common Business Thank You Note Mistakes

It’s common knowledge that a thank-you note is an essential part of business etiquette, but believe it or not, there are many ways to do it wrong. As we have written about here and here, there is nothing more effective than a handwritten thank you card when it comes to winning new clients and increasing sales in your business. And in today’s digital age, sending a printed note is even more important.

However, many business owners don’t take advantage of this key business practice to the degree that they should. There are many reasons for this that we will discuss in this article, but today I want to focus on the most common business thank-you note mistakes.

While we are big fans of thank-you notes as a general rule, misunderstandings over proper etiquette and even when to send a card can weaken or even harm customer relationships. To avoid the seven most common thank-you note mistakes, read on.

Not sending the note soon enough

The sooner your company sends a note after any transaction or touchpoint, the more likely it will be read and remembered by the person who received it. It might seem like a small thing, but in today’s busy world where people get hundreds or thousands of emails every day (and forget most of them), this simple step can make all the difference.

If your company is in the habit of sending thank you notes more than 72 hours after every job or transaction, chances are that many recipients will forget who sent it and why. The sooner a personalized note arrives, the higher its impact – especially if they received hundreds of other generic emails, text messages and memes in between.

Sending a generic note without any personalization or connection
We get it. A form letter is easy to replicate and send out. Just print and mail. If that’s all the company is doing with a thank-you note, it may not cut it. Sure, a form letter might work for the first few customers who receive it, but after that, recipients will see it for what it is: an automated gesture to boost your business’s sales without any genuine care or connection behind it.

Instead, make sure your thank-you note is tailored to the individual. Personalization will inspire a response and have recipients seeing your business as an interested party in their lives, not a faceless vendor sending out blank cards for marketing purposes. Include as many details as you can, including the customer’s name, a mention of the product or service and the date of the transaction.

Making The Thank-You Note All About You

The intended purpose of a thank-you note is to make customers feel appreciated, especially if you already provided an exceptional product or level of service. However, what you want to avoid is making them feel like they are getting an advertisement from your business.

That means the focus of the thank-you note should remain squarely on the customer, not on your company. Sure, you should acknowledge the importance of your products and services – indirectly. But a thank-you note is not an opportunity to brag about what makes your company great.

Instead, think of this: if someone did something nice for you (e.g., bought a product or service from you), would you want that person to talk about him or herself the whole time? Probably not. The same is true for thank-you notes: make sure they focus on the customer and their needs, not you.

Going On Too Long

When it comes to thank-you notes, less is more. You want to keep your thank-you note short and sweet – preferably less than 200 words. Long paragraphs and multiple pages are too much, even for a wonderful customer. If you feel that you want to say more than you have room for in your note, that’s okay. Just send a shorter thank-you note and explain that there will be more follow up in the future.

Remember that every touchpoint creates an opportunity to strengthen (or weaken) the impression your customer has of your company – and you. So make sure that every word of your thank-you note is carefully chosen and adds value in some way.

Not Saying Anything Of Value

This is related to the last point. When you are sending a thank-you note, you should still be doing it for a reason. A good thank-you note can communicate a lot in few words. Use this as an opportunity to communicate what is important to you: trust, quality, originality, customer experience or meaning – to name a few areas.

This is an opportunity to express the values you hold dear and the beliefs you stand behind. If you’re not saying anything of value, then your customers probably aren’t getting anything out of reading your notes.

Writing An Email Instead Of A Handwritten Note

I doubt you are surprised that the team behind Postalgia would recommend handwritten notes. But admitted bias aside, there is value to sending your customers a physical, handwritten piece of mail.

There is a sense of appreciation and care that can just come through in the touch, feel and use of an actual thank-you note. It’s tactile. It feels good to receive it. It takes effort to send it. It’s memorable.

While email is generic and unremarkable, handwritten notes are the opposite. So if you have the time and ability to send a thank-you note in person, then your customers will appreciate it. Not only does this show that you care – which is what a thank-you note is all about – but also that you took the time to put effort into their appreciation of your business.

Forgetting to send out thank-you notes altogether

Lastly, one of the big mistakes is not sending out customer thank-you notes at all. This is a big no-no. Your customers deserve to know that their business means something to you.

If it just slips your mind, then make sure you get on top of things as soon as possible, preferably within 72 hours of the customer interaction, as per tip number one. And don’t tell yourself that they “won’t care”. They will.

Instead, think of the thank-you note as an opportunity. With just a few words, you can express gratitude for their business and all the ways it truly matters to you. Be genuine, be brief, and be grateful. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just focus on what’s important: your customers’ happiness.

Wrapping Up

Sending thank-you notes is a powerful tool for deepening your relationship with your customers. But it is important to do it right. By avoiding these seven mistakes, you can help ensure that you get the most out of this important activity.

Of course, the most important step is resolving to include thank-you notes as a key part of your sales process. Are there any other examples of common mistakes that you see small businesses make when writing their thank-you notes? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Six Things to Avoid in a Handwritten Thank You Note

When you receive a handwritten thank-you note from someone, it’s one of the most thoughtful gestures that person could make. It shows that they took time out of their day to write something just for you. The same goes for your clients.

Writing a handwritten thank-you note to clients is a great way to show them how much they mean to your business or organization while creating a deeper personal connection.  Unfortunately, many small business owners often don’t write thank-you notes or cards. Yet studies show that we often underestimate the value of personalized thank-you letters because they aren’t sure where to start or what to include. Our take: it’s a powerful tool you should be using.

If you want to add a personal touch to your business, a handwritten card is a great way to do it.  That being said, there are some things that should be avoided when composing one of these notes. Here are six major pitfalls to avoid when crafting a handwritten thank-you letter.

1. Don’t send a generic thank you

If you decide to send a handwritten note to a client, make sure it’s personalized. Generic messages are impersonal and show that you didn’t take time out of your day to create something for your customer specifically.

It’s easy to personalize a letter if you’re using Contact Relationship Management (CRM) software and even easier with some creativity. Even without using a CRM or spreadsheet program, take time to introduce your customers by name when expressing gratitude for their patronage: they’ll appreciate it! And never forget that spelling is important–accuracy will help maintain trust and avoid offence in this fast-paced world.

2. Don’t be too formal

The thank-you letter is a great way to express gratitude for the time and money donors, customers, or supporters have given. Your message must be both warm and sincere, which can mean different things depending on who the recipient might be. The tone of voice that you use in your note should be friendly and personal.

Keep in mind a friendly tone of voice helps make sure people don’t stop reading after just one sentence, too.  So think about what a note would sound like if it came from an old friend instead of some corporation when crafting yours.

Depending on the culture of your organization, you may have a standard way to address a customer or donor.  Some say “Mr.” or “Ms.” while others may call them by their first name. Avoid guessing at the best title for them – only use one that has been specifically stated in advance.  You can’t go wrong with using their first name.

3. Don’t wait too long

When sending a thank-you note, it’s best not to wait so long that your customer forgets having done the thing you’re thanking them for. The slower they receive a response, the more likely they’ll forget the details of the interaction. That’s why follow-ups can’t be delayed for too long.

It’s going to take some time for your note to get finished, stamped and mailed – it’s not called “snail mail” for nothing!  So send a letter to your customer thanking them for their business as soon as you can after the transaction.

4. Don’t hide your company’s personality – or yours

It’s important to be yourself when communicating, not just because it can help you come across as more genuine, but also so the other person knows they are communicating with a real person.

Consider what your company or non-profit is about and how you would want to articulate to a customer or client for them to understand you and your company or organization better at an emotional level.

Don’t forget to include hints of your company’s personality!

And make sure to showcase your own personality, too. You’re a unique individual – don’t ever be afraid of letting that show.  Don’t forget it’s one-on-one communication, so the recipient will likely appreciate hearing from you at an authentic level rather than just another generic message sent out by any small business or organization communicating with a sea of customers.

5. Don’t ask for anything in your thank you note

Don’t ask for anything in your thank-you letter. A thank-you note’s only role is outreach: to make the customer or donor feel good and provide sincere thanks. Full stop.

Though it might be tempting to include a new piece of information – such as telling them about another service or selling some tickets to an upcoming event – don’t do that.  If you do, then your gratitude will not seem genuine, which could leave them feeling unappreciated instead of valuing your gesture of thanking them.

6. Avoid talking about your company or your goals

Similar to the last point, a thank you note should be used only to say thanks. It’s not the time for touting your company’s accomplishments or goals; it’s a chance to express gratitude and recognize a customer’s contribution to your success.

This is, however, the perfect time to be thoughtful in your thank-you note. Make it all about them, not you. Take some time and put yourself into their shoes, remembering that they could have taken their business somewhere else: they deserve a little appreciation!

Thank-You Notes Are A Powerful Tool

The right way to say thanks after doing business together might not always come naturally or easily. But once it becomes a regular part of your business operations, you’ll find it is an effort worth doing.  It’s an opportunity to say thanks and let your donors, customers or supporters know how much they are appreciated.

Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of the etiquette guru Emily Post, highlights the power of a personal note: “There’s something very lovely about the personal, physical touch of someone’s handwriting on an actual piece of paper that arrives at your door.”

The first step is deciding to send a handwritten thank-you letter to build relationships with your valued contacts. Using these rules, you will ensure that the message in that letter or note has a big and lasting impact on the recipient.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

The Revenge of Analog

Life is moving online—so why are so many of us going offline? The Revenge of Analog explains why.

If you’re a literary junkie, you know there’s been a quiet civil war raging among the community of book-lovers. At the core of this conflict is a sacred question—would you ever peruse a book using an e-reader? Is a book really a book if it isn’t on paper? On one side are those who appreciate the practicality of their Kindles and Kobos. No wonder why. They make books more affordable, take up less space than shelves, and are easier to travel with.

And the other side of the divide? To them, it isn’t a practical argument. To them, the sanctity of the paper book is spiritual.

Consider comments in this Reddit thread explaining why users prefer paper books:

“I love the feeling of a good book in my hands.”

“There is nothing more satisfying than opening a new book and getting the honour of breaking the spine.”

“Seeing withered spines and taped covers makes me smile, and I like to think the reader is reliving so many memories just from that one book.”

Note the commonalities. “Feeling,” “opening,” “breaking the spine”—these describe the physicality of the book. They say: Nothing compares to the experience of touch. Touch is connected to memory, and especially to good memories. Touch becomes the doorway to the soul.

The sanctity of touch is the theme of David Sax’s 2016 bestseller, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter. The book explores a contradiction in the digital revolution. At a time when most of life is moving online, more and more consumers are showing a clear preference for analog—or physical—alternatives. Essentially, things they can hold in their hands—and how feeling things makes them better. Where a Google calendar offers efficiency, a paper calendar offers beauty. Where a Facetime call provides convenience, a conversation over coffee creates intimacy. Where digital can feel distant, the physical feels closer—even in the case of a handwritten letter, where the sender can live far away.

Sax chronicles the analog revolution through anecdotes that would make Malcolm Gladwell smile. He opens with the unexpected resurgence of vinyl records. Sales reached half a billion dollars in 2015—the highest level since the late 1980s. Vinyl is an experience of music that feels “heartfelt, raw, and organic,” says Sax. “You watch the record spin, and it’s like you’re sitting around a campfire,” one musician tells him. “It’s hypnotic.” And hypnotism remains a face-to-face art.

Do you think this anti-digital vengeance comes from older demographics pining for simpler times… a Bingo club of “You kids, get off my lawn” consumers? You’d be wrong. Those now dipping their toes in analog grew up bathing in digital products: Millennials and other young consumers. They are driving the success of analog alternatives like old-school Polaroid cameras with built-in printers.

Our favourite part of the analog trend is what it reveals about our enduring love of good old-fashioned paper. For instance, beyond books, Sax raises the hopeful future of magazines:

“The newer magazines that are succeeding today, publications like Kinfolk and Monocle magazines, they’re saying, ‘Okay, we might have a few ads in here, but we’re really not dependent on ads in the way that time and Newsweek and Vanity Fair is. We depend on your subscription dollars. If you like it, you pay for the subscription, you pay for each issue, and it’s going to cost you more than those Sports Illustrated things, and we’re not sending you a football phone. You’re going to pay for this, but you’re going to get something that’s a high quality and that you’ll like and it won’t feel as disposable’. And if enough people think that, then, that’s a business.

In our industry, we at Postalgia see the paper preference at play with the power of direct mail. From the huge plurality of consumers who look forward to checking the mail to the ways direct mail gets better response rates than comparable digital marketing, we see paper’s incomparable capacity to create an emotional connection between you and your stakeholders. Forging a connection in a way that digital marketing hasn’t yet matched.

This is why the paper preference is so powerful. Paper creates relationships. We’ve seen that during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the enormous proliferation of pen pal groups and letter-writing among family members as an antidote to social isolation—and in contrast, how draining the endless Zoom meetings can be.

Nowadays we hear a lot about disruption—and that the only way to be disruptive is digital. Today, the opposite is true. The revolution of analog products is on. This revolution won’t be televised—it will be handwritten on paper you can hold in your hands.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Gratitude is a Business Strategy

Gratitude: you might know it as a hashtag, or an Indigo mug, or a word your mom has crocheted on her wall. What you may not know is that gratitude is also a business strategy—because a grateful business is a business that customers return to again and again.

Consider a 2017 research article entitled Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation. In it, researchers Amit Kumar and Nicholas Epley demonstrated how we often assume expressing gratitude will be taken awkwardly by the recipient of our affections. In their study, participants expressing gratitude underestimated how happily surprised the recipients of gratitude would be and overestimated how awkward they would feel. Which is too bad, because the researchers also found that both expresser and recipient reported positive emotions and better well-being because of gratitude.

The simple fact is that people love being thanked and love thanking—even if, on the surface, they think they don’t.

The power of gratitude in building loyalty

Decades of research has confirmed this, as Harvard Medical School attests. “Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness,” they write, and “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Your mom was on to something.

But before we call your mom the next Jeff Bezos, it’s worth asking the question: how can we apply the positive emotions of gratitude to a business strategy?

Let’s start by considering how expressing gratitude builds loyalty and commitment in stakeholders—whether customers, clients, or donors. Gratitude is motivating. In Globoforce’s Spring 2014 Employee Workforce Mood Tracker Survey, 86 percent of employees recognized at work felt more motivated to do their jobs. 85{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57} of employees said recognition added humanity to the workplace. And those who express gratitude are more extraverted, agreeable, open, and conscientious, leading to more employee friendships at the office and, consequently, more long-term commitment to the company.

Now apply that thinking to your key stakeholders, whether your biggest donors or your most critical customers. The same outcomes that gratitude generates in employees are just as powerful and relevant. A customer or donor who feels deeply appreciated will feel more motivated to continue working with you. A customer or donor who finds you agreeable, open, and conscientious has found a comfortable place to park their hard-earned dollars.

And in a world where AI and technology are replacing the human element, we know customers still prefer human interactions—and want to do business with brands they view as “human.” One study conducted by Forrester Consulting found that consumers who perceive a brand as human are more than twice as likely to love the brand, nearly twice as likely to purchase from that brand, and nearly twice as likely to recommend it. What’s not to love about being twice as effective with your sales? Gratitude brings humanity to your business interactions. When customers feel like appreciated people, rather than numbers, they come back.

The best part about gratitude as a business strategy?

How easy it is to implement.

Becoming an organization that intentionally expresses gratitude to its customers, donors, or clients doesn’t require rethinking your growth plan. It doesn’t require a million-dollar marketing campaign. It doesn’t require a guy in a just-too-well-fitted suit clicking through a PowerPoint and telling you how Tik Tok is the next Amazon.

Actually, all it takes is a pen, a piece of paper, and a good old-fashioned thank-you note.

Don’t take our word for it. Here’s etiquette expert Dan Post Senning:

“When I get a handwritten letter, I’m excited to open it. The art of the postage stamp, the feel of the paper, the graphic quirks of a friend’s handwriting: There is simply nothing as personal as a handwritten note. In a stack of bills and flyers, it’s a treasure in a sealed packet, full of promise and potential. It is a visceral reminder of someone far away… Handwritten notes still have a personality, warmth and, when needed, gravitas that computer screens don’t.”

Why do handwritten notes deliver a gratitude punch that no other medium can?

  1. They take just a little bit more effort. It’s easy to quickly type out an email or a text on your phone. You can jam out either of those while you’re sitting on the toilet. But a handwritten note is tailored. The uniqueness of each note and the effort of the sender says to the recipient, “I cared enough about you to write this down.”
  2. They can’t be missed, and they stick. How easy it is to delete an email or miss it entirely. Our inboxes are sources of stress, not sources of delight. But a handwritten letter is unignorable. In a pile of junk mail, there’s no joy quite like seeing a real note—they will be opened, every time. As Dan Post Senning puts it, “You can’t hold digital thanks in your hands the way you can hold a note. When was the last time you printed out an e-card? Right. Email is read and deleted. A mailed note is seen again and again on a desk or counter. Would you rather your thanks be remembered or deleted?”
  3. They are authentic and human. Penmanship is the child of personality. When we read someone’s handwriting, we can feel them on the other side of the ink—and we can sense the authenticity of their words, considering that precious time was taken to put them to paper. Earlier we talked about how customers want to do business with “human” organizations. The sense of authenticity, humanity, and personalization produced by handwritten letters offers an incomparable human touch. And that will keep the recipient committed to you for a long time to come.

Building an authentic, long-term, loyal relationship with your stakeholders is as easy as thanking them, again and again, for being part of your work. And all it takes is a handwritten note.

The best part? Handwriting letters are easier than you think

Gratitude is a winner, but let’s address the elephant-shaped pile of paper in the room. “Of course, I’d love to write handwritten notes to everyone,” you’re thinking, “But who has the time?”

Good news: you don’t need the time. Here’s how.

Oh, and we almost forgot:

Thanks for reading.

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