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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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Something to smile about - the two-part thank you process
Deborah Block and Paul Karps

May, 2009

Thanking a donor for making that gift is always critical—and especially when, in such a horrid economy, contributing to a nonprofit is a luxury for many Americans.

So all of us have always been forceful proponents of sending prompt and appropriately grateful acknowledgments . . . and never more so than right now.

But have you ever considered a two-part thank-you process? If not, this clever package from The Smile Train (New York NY) could change your mind.

Coming after an initial acknowledgment, the #10 window outer features the intriguing and very personal teaser, “Here are the pictures I promised to send you!”

Inside, the brief, one-page letter begins, “When I sent you a thank you letter a few months ago, I promised to send you a picture of a child we were able to help thanks to your support.”

Copy then goes on to explain that the photo is of a baby in Argentina with a cleft palate and how he had corrective surgery because of The Smile Train.

As you can see here, the enclosed photos are before-and-after shots of the eight-month-old little boy. And though there's no reply form—and no Ask in the letter—a return envelope is included.

Along with the concept of following up a thank-you, the look of this mailing is interesting. It has a very homespun, deliberately “old-fashioned” appearance. In fact, copy seemed to be typed on an actual typewriter. While the photos mimic a color Xerox—rather than glossy, offset printing.

What's the reason behind this modest style? The group may be emphasizing its low overhead. (A quote reprinted from The New York Times next to the letter's masthead proclaims, “ . . . one of the most productive charities—dollar for deed—in the world.”)

Even so, we're not sure anyone out there would believe an organization sophisticated enough to correct cleft palates wouldn't have computers at its disposal.

Yet the overall effect of the package is friendly, thoughtful, and appreciative. Note, for example, the informality of the signer's name, using only “Brian.” (Not to mention the smiley face. Then again, it is The Smile Train.)

The package has everything to do with relationship building. And that's what a thank-you—or even a follow-up thank-you—is really all about!

To see this entire package, click here.

Copywriters Deborah Block and Paul Karps are partners in BK Kreative, 1010 Varsity Court, Mountain View CA 94040, phone (650) 962-1499, email


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