In Part One of this series, I suggested you start sending Valentines to widowed donors. I promised to write in this post about how I manage to send over 100 eCards and over 200 greeting cards per year, not including 300 Christmas cards. . . and in a non-stressful, manageable way. It took me over a period of years to develop this habit, so please don’t be overwhelmed by this. Just take some ideas that you think you could reasonably do this year and add another piece next year. Or, you could decide to do everything, but with a smaller group of people, such as your top donors and family, adding more people next year.
If you don’t have email addresses, birthdates and anniversary dates, you can at least send holiday cards four times a year: Valentines, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Divide your donors into these four groups and then each one will have received a card each year. I will post in the near future how I gather birthday and anniversary information so you can start sending birthday and anniversary cards. Doing this spreads the cards out over twelve months and will be easier for you.
I keep a box of anniversary, birthday, and holiday cards that I ordered ahead of time from Current. Their stationery is attractive and affordable , plus they offer great sales. If you are really thrifty, order your holiday cards after the season has passed so you get some great Christmas-themed thank you notes, or whatever you need, for next year.
Bj’s Wholesale clubs also have beautiful cards at a discount. You can buy packs of six cards at about fifty cents per card. We also buy special cards, like Golden Anniversary cards, from Bj’s Wholesale clubs.
Your Address Book
I recommend TntMPD to manage your names, addresses, eAddresses, birthdays and anniversaries. TntMPD is a free software that helps you manage your relationships with your donors. For those of you not keeping track of ministry partners, TntMPD is still a great contact management tool. I will go into more detail on TntMPD in March. If you have a great way to manage names and contact information, please share it with us.
Once you have all your contact information in TntMPD, you can start addressing cards on the 20th of every month using TntMPD’s Birthday and Anniversary Report. Click on the Excel button to export your report to a spreadsheet (or you can export in csv or txt format). In the spreadsheet I delete all the rows except for next month’s dates. Then, I look through the names and delete some. For instance, I might send an anniversary card to a couple so I don’t need to know their birthdates. If you want to, you can use colors to highlight some of the information. Some things I color-code are email addresses if I want to send an eCard, special anniversary years (25th, 50th,…), family members, etc. Sort the spreadsheet on the day column. (You can adjust columns so the spreadsheet will print on one sheet, too.) Print a copy to use for addressing.
You might want a history of which donors received cards, so do a lookup in TntMPD on Anniversary Month, for example, to find all the donors with anniversaries next month and then you can make one history note for all the donors by logging a group history. I choose “Letter” for the type and enter “card: anniv” in the description.
Addressing and Mailing
Address and sign all the cards for the whole month in date order. Write the date you will mail the card where the stamp will go. The date should be one week before the anniversary or birthday. Put all the envelopes in date order in your special spot for outgoing mail (I hope you have one). If the month is June, this may take longer, so put a movie in your DVD player then sign and address all of your cards while you watch a movie. Often when I did not complete the process, I found a card sitting somewhere a month too late. Check your outgoing mail spot daily and stamp and send your cards throughout the month.
That’s all I did when I started. Now this is a habit and I don’t have to think too much about what I am doing, except to make sure I keep a supply of stamps and cards. I like to order special stamps online with appropriate designs.
After a few years, I wrote a note in the card, too. Now, I also have a sheet of stationery I designed with our photo. I decided if I went through all the trouble of having addressed something, it would be worth it to communicate some ministry news and appreciation. I write a little ministry or personal news on it and enclose it in the card.
See the previous post if you want to enclose little gifts.
I prefer to send snail mail cards to donors, but I will send eCards to six or eight people every month. Here’s some cards I’ve found:
- An anniversary card at crosscards.com
- A belated birthday card at DaySpring.com (I will actually send this belated birthday card on purpose because it is so funny!)
If I do not have birthday and/or anniversary information for people, I send Valentines, Easter, Thanksgiving, and/or Christmas cards. As we get close to Easter, I will write about how I manage holiday cards. You might want to order some Easter cards so you will be ready. I promise to post in plenty of time for you to get the cards in your friends’ mailboxes by April 4th.
NOTE: Visit the Correspondence Series for help on organizing your greeting cards and more.