The Art of Saying Thanks

One of the things I kind of don't like about this age of social media is how much easier it is for people to hit you up for contributions to their favorite charitable causes.  I find myself making many more small contributions than I have in the past (Dear Reader:  please don't get any ideas!).

Personally, I write a lot of thank you notes.  It is something my mother taught us, something my mentor Bob Burg teaches, something my wife and I are trying to teach our children, and frankly it is the right thing to do.

I was thus pleased, initially, to receive two thank you notes in the mail yesterday for recent contributions to friend's causes.  Both were from two long time friends.  The first I opened was from my friend Mark - we've been friends since 1st grade, I was his best man at his wedding and he stood up in my wedding.  Mark wrote a very nice note that clearly expressed his gratitude.

Same thing with the second note from a guy I've known since elementary school and who shall remain nameless.  His thank you note also clearly expressed his gratitude.

The only problem was that he didn't write it.  The handwriting was in blue and very clearly that of a high school girl (come on you know they have a distinct style of printing).  Then my friend signed his initials, in black, at the end of the note.

What a horrible way out. 

My mother passed away in February 2008, in the height of busy season.  We were inundated with contributions to our synagogue and other worthwhile causes.  People brought in dinners and did all sorts of wonderful things for us.  My brother, sister and I wrote in excess of 750 thank you notes.  We didn't have someone else write them.  We wrote each one, by hand, and expressed our sincere gratitude for their sympathy.  I would work 12 hours and come home and write 20 notes.  We went back to the funeral home three times for more thank you notes.  We got 99% of them done by Passover - about two months after she died.  My mother was larger than life, and the outpouring from people was not unexpected; we did what she taught us to do.

To get a thank you note written by someone else is about as rude as it gets.

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Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies. Joel writes observations on different matters and especially on working with and using LinkedIn. He thinks he has a sense of humor.

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