Received a lovely letter from a donor today. I promised I'd send her some information and an update on her previous donation and sent it off (with a personal note) last week thinking no more about it.
She was so touched (I was just doing my job) that she sent me a 3 page handwritten note thanking me and telling me a lovely anecdote about her father's work at a local factory. Also enclosed, much to my amazement - my letter didn't include an ask - was a sizeable donation.
It just emphasised again how important those personal touches are, how you need to inject some of your own personality into communications (and not always follow the standard approach) and that by doing so you can build connections that will reap long term benefits.
This really came home to me when I rang to thank her. She didn't want any praise or thanks, she actually wanted to thank me for giving her the chance to remember her father, tell her story and to make a difference. We had a great chat and both got off the phone feeling good about the world.
To me it emphasised the importance of treating everyone as an individual and to give them a chance to share their story and experience. The key lesson for me was never miss a chance to go the extra mile for someone, you'll reap the rewards in the long run.