I’m always getting requests from people.
Will you take out the garbage already? When can you buy me that shiny toy? Could you get this new project finished before tomorrow’s deadline?
The requests arrive hard and fast, throughout the day and without letup. At home or at work, while eating, reading, showering, dressing, typing, snoozing.
You get the idea.
So it’s only natural that the myriad requests cropping up during my interactions with fellow humans mimic the countless paper requests piling up in my rusty metal mailbox.
Will you help us raise funds for our new building? When are you able to place a message in our upcoming dinner journal? Could you assist us by donating generously to this worthy cause?
Charities, not-for-profits, religious institutions – somehow, they all make their way to my door, hiding inside a humdrum rectangular envelope, bearing a perpetually slanted Forever postage stamp.
I’ve become rather jaded to these various requests for assistance. Yes, the cause is worthy and I do care about poor children, broken families, and endangered cockroaches (okay, maybe not the last one). But that’s what repetition does to the human spirit. It dulls our minds and senses. Think of it as prescription Codeine for the emotions.
No big surprise then, why the bulk of my weekly envelope collection goes on a predictable journey from mail box to trash bin. Can you blame me?
So how pleasantly shocking it was when I received a letter in the mail this week from a religious institute I’m somewhat familiar with. The first tipoff that this wasn’t going to be a typical encounter… was the conspicuous absence of a return envelope.
“Hmm,” I mused to myself. “Either these folks are absolute klutzes, or they’ve got something really good up their sleeves.” Loath as I am to admit, they had me intrigued.
I skimmed through the letter quickly, half expecting to see the big sell – the crocodile tears, the scare factor, the we-gladly-take-donations-by-credit-card-for-your-convenience pitch.
But there was none.
Instead, tucked oh-so-neatly after the opening greeting was the following paragraph.
We value all you’ve done in the past to help our institution of higher learning. Perhaps you can assist us in coming up with some original ideas or initiatives to help us expand our base of support. It would be our pleasure to hear back from you.
Underneath the signature of the executive director was – are you ready for this one? – his personal cellphone number and email address for continuing the conversation. No asking for financial assistance. No whining about the miserable economy. Just a clever, personal, feel-good message to make me believe that my creative prowess could somehow make a dent in their freakishly high $3 million budget.
Yes, I’ll confess – the sheer notion alone brought a smile to my face.
The lifespan of this communication extended far beyond the 8.5×11 cotton-blend paper it was printed upon. I felt this organization actually wanted me – not my cash or check or Amex card. Rather touching, right?
Now in all honesty, I’m not quite sure if I will end up calling the fellow. I also can’t guarantee that this letter will encourage me to add more zeros to my check when future fundraising mailings arrive.
But of one thing I am quite sure: I’ll most certainly be writing about it.
right on the money! sometimes you need to make somebody feel wanted and appreciated. focus on that, and the money will automatically come afterwards.