Every January, I look over my greeting card plan for the coming year and make any adjustments.
Make Your Greeting Card Plan for the Year
Why Send a Greeting Card?
Our donors have repeatedly thanked us for remembering their anniversaries. One couple, married 57 years, only receives anniversary cards from us.
Greeting cards are an easy way to show appreciation and that we’re thinking about these folks.
Who Will Receive a Greeting Card?
I’ve suggested over the years that you send greeting cards to all your donors. If you haven’t been doing this, start small. Start with the ministry partners who supply 50% of your income. (See your Ministry Partner Giving Analysis, MPGA, report on the Staff Web for a list of your partners who provide 50% of your income.) Add more people every year until you build up to 100% sent.
What If I Don’t Have Their Anniversary or Birthday Dates?
Like you, we have ministry partners who’ve never given us their special dates. It takes time to gather this information. I’ve used “Getting to Know You” questionnaires for many years. This week, I sent emails to about 20 people asking for their special day. Half responded. Normally, I don’t get such a good response. Two things may have helped:
- I had a birthday cake 🎂 emoji in the subject line. (See this post, 4 Reasons to Use Emojis in eMail)
- Besides asking for their birthday or anniversary date, I asked if they had any prayer requests.
This simple email was more effective and easier than the questionnaire. I’m planning to reply soon with a response to their prayer requests.
You can still send cards without knowing birthday and anniversary dates. (See the ideas in the next section.)
What Cards Could I Send?
Dividing your cards for specific dates will spread them out throughout the year. This makes this project manageable.
Find the Cards to Spread Out Over the Year
Besides Anniversaries, Birthdays, and Childrens’ Birthdays, you could send other cards.
If you don’t have birthdays and anniversaries, try some of these creative alternatives.
- Identify your widows and older single women to receive Valentine’s cards. I often enclose a little gift (tea bag, note pad, homemade bookmark, . . .)
- Identify pastors or other ministry workers to send a card on Pastor Appreciation Sunday in October. Hobby Lobby has boxed sets of Dayspring Ministry Appreciation cards.
- This year, I’m sending Prayer or Friendship cards to some people.
By this point, you may have a plan for half of your ministry partners.
These Cards Are for Holidays
The other half of your donors will receive Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas cards. Depending on what you do about Christmas cards, divide your remaining names in half or in thirds. These are not equal halves. If you have more time in the spring, send more cards at Easter. I send Easter cards to annual donors. They would then have a greeting card in the spring and a thank you at the end of the year, hearing from us “twice.”
How Can I Manage Facebook Birthday Greetings?
I check Facebook for birthdays every morning. I have two bookmarks for Dayspring e-card birthday greetings. I have bookmarks for a “his” and for a “her” card, changing the bookmark every January. That is, I send women the same greeting all year and men their greeting. Of course, I’ll make the occasional exception. Here’s the social card I sent to women one year.
For me, Facebook is supplemental to the mailed cards. I’ll mail an anniversary card to a couple and send a Dayspring e-card for their birthdays.
You may have a few problems with using this method:
- Facebook doesn’t always alert you to a person’s birthday or anniversary.
- You may notice your friend is not that active on Facebook. Send the Dayspring card in an email instead.
My Greeting Card Method
I’ll start with a disclaimer. Don’t let my efforts overwhelm you. My greeting card habit has developed over decades. I spread cards out so I don’t have that many to do most of the weeks of the year.
I stock up with Current stationery sales. My cards are available to me when I’m ready to work on them. I generally use the same size cards so I can mess up on an address and re-do the card.
I always address all the cards on the 25th of the previous month. I put the date of when the card should be mailed where the stamp will go. I mail cards a week before the event.
Last year, I sent 270 greeting cards to 174 addresses. Our top donors receive more than one card. I sent 74 birthday greetings through Facebook.
Last year, we sent 68 anniversary and 12 birthday cards, 25 Valentine’s, 50 Easter, 35 Thanksgiving, and 20 Christmas cards. (We also send a family Christmas prayer letter.) These cards spread out throughout the year, as I said. The 50 Easter cards do take longer to get ready. (AND about 1/4 of our anniversary cards go out in June!)
None of these things took that long at the time and add up to a lot of love and appreciation for our ministry partners every year.
- For more greeting card ideas, try my communication tag or search on “greeting”. Some specific posts you might like are:
- Check out How to Divide Your Partners by Priority, if you’d like to decide how many greeting cards you send to whom.
- Looking at your MPGA in late January will help you see your top donors and other analysis for the previous year.
- For more on the MPGA report see 3 MPD Financial Tips for the New Year.