Asking and Thanking

In some circles the thank you note is a lost bit of culture. When someone gives you a gift you should send a thank you note. Should. The note should just express thanks for the gift. To my mind, including a personal exchange from the receiver to the giver is reasonable. “I hope to see you next month.” “Will you be at the reunion next summer?” Personal communication is the key.

One should not use the thank you note to solicit another gift. Politicians seem incapable of communicating without asking for more. Some charitable organizations seem to also lack the ability to thank without asking for more.

Today’s mail included a note from Oxfam thanking me for a contribution to their Puerto Rico efforts. The envelope included a direct, simple note, a business card, and a four page brochure describing the work I helped fund in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. There was no ask. This is wonderful.

The people at PCUN, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, and the Willamette Valley Law Project also have a history of sending thank you notes with no further asks.

For above and beyond thanking from a charitable organization goes to Vitamin Angels. After I did one of those Facebook based fund raisers for my birthday I received immediate thanks. But then at the end of the year I received a personal, handwritten note from my contact in the organization. It was heartfelt and unexpected.

It brightens the day to get a thank you note. It’s time, past time, for me to send some of my own.