A good friend called me the other day and asked if my wife and I were going to attend a fundraiser ‘gala’ for a local non-profit organization. I was on the board of this organization for a number of years and in addition to a substantial financial contribution, I also donated a great deal of time developing their brand identity and various marketing pieces.
My knee-jerk reaction to my friend’s question was fairly severe–in that I felt slighted, having never received an invitation. I know this because I have been granted a sensory gift. I can hear a mail truck from at least 4 miles away and ever since childhood, the shutting of the mailbox door causing me to spring into action! So, as the family’s snail-mail gatekeeper, I know for a fact that a gala invite had never touched down at the old homestead.
Feeling under-appreciated and disgruntled, I attempted to erase every mental fragment of this particular organization from my mind. But then…
It was brought to my attention that printed invitations had neither been printed or mailed. All correspondence had been done through e-mail!
B-Z-Z-Z-Z! (ear-splitting wail of the marketing communications penalty buzzer)
Lets be completely serious. Despite being ultra-green and economical, the novelty of electronic messages evaporated several years ago.
My e-mail inbox has a leak so BIG, that six dozen, Hans Brinkers–would not be able to control the flow.
As I constantly struggle to bring the inbox to ‘E’–even Gary Cooper would fall victim to the speed of my itchy trigger finger as it reaches for the 'unsubscribe' button.
Click. Gone. Next!
In fact, I recently subscribed to a great new service, unroll.me, which bundles all of my non-personal e-mails into one bundle (my Daily Rollup), delivered once a day.
The service also tracks e-mails that are not yet included in the digital package. For those, I have three choices:
- Ad to my Rollup.
- Keep in my Inbox.
I can now out-draw Mr. Cooper, with my left mouse hand–even while blind-folded.
Returning to the invitation, there is a very good chance that while trying this trick (opposite hand, vision-impaired), I accidentally unsubscribed from this list–never to be invited again.
So here is what I strongly recommend in terms of event invitations:
- Unless you are going to reach out personally to invitees–either eyeball to eyeball or by the telephone, a printed invitation is necessary.
- A post card is fine. Just be aware that post cards do tend to receive excessive punishment as they travel through the USPS meat grinder.
- In the case of the gala event (as described above), where tickets are a steep $75 each–a modest invitation mailed in an envelope meets the basic requirements of social grace. After all, you don’t expect me to show up in a sleeveless undershirt and cut-offs.
- From an inter-family communication standpoint–you can’t thumbtack an e-mail to the family bulletin board. E-mail and refrigerator doors refuse to socialize.
Unless your e-mail list is rock solid, an e-mailed invitation makes a much better sidekick than an invitation super hero. Because, if you are like me, my ‘UNSUBSCRIBE' trigger finger–very seldom rests. – Doug.