So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thanks For What?

This is a post-mortem from an experience I had in late-July. If it sounds like I'm complaining, then you're dead-on right.
I received a small envelope in my mailbox this week, from a gentleman in a nearby burg. I quickly recognized the name to be that of the coach whose Salvation Army-sponsored track team was left in a lurch just prior to the AAU Junior Olympics national meet in Detroit.
'Strange,' I said to myself. 'While this might be a thank-you note it seems a little on the small and light side.' I opened the envelope to find a very small thank you card, with a single sheet note stapled inside.
How nice. I received a 'dear sponsor' letter. Not 'Dear Michael,' but 'dear sponsor.'
Here's what the letter read:
Dear Sponsor: On behalf of the staff and members of the (blank) Track Club, we would like to extend our most sincere gratitude for your generous donation to our club. Your proceeds helped us to make our youth the champions they are today. We would also like to thank you for your contribution in helping us get our youth to the National Jr. Olympics in Detroit, Michigan. We hope that you continue your support with our organization and we will continue to mold our children into positive athletes! With thanks, (blank), Head Coach, (blank), Field Coach & P.R. Specialist
Now, perhaps I should settle for this amount of gratitude. However, as a person who donated money toward this particular program which I could have invested into my household, or to Kids Run The Nation, a RRCA youth running grant program, I want to know the value-added; what was the end result of this particular trip, how did these athletes perform. Simply put: What did I get in return for my investment?
The head coach and the P.R. specialist failed to elaborate beyond the realm of platitudes. As a coach of athletes, I judge value-added by results; I want to know how well these athletes performed, or at least whether they had the opportunity to exceed their personal best efforts.
I could care less about your efforts to mold children into positive athletes. I would rather you mold them into positive citizens, by teaching them to say please and thank you. Setting an example by admitting when you are wrong and apologizing. Giving credit where credit is due. Maybe taking a little bit of effort to personalize your thanks.
The first rule of public relations should be to make a positive impact on the people you want to have in your corner for future struggles.
IF I WERE YOUR PUBLIC RELATIONS SPECIALIST: Here's how this letter would have been written to me:
Dear Mr. Bowen: On behalf, blah, blah (I would also make certain the name of the track club was right in the letter...was it "(blank) Golden Track Club" or "Golden Soldiers Track Club?") we would like to extend our gratitude for your check for (total) to support our club trip to the National Junior Olympics in Detroit, MI. We were able to take six athletes to the Junior Olympics meet; three of them reached the semifinal heats of their respective events and five of them exceeded their personal best marks (This is just an example of value-added...tell me what these kids did. I donated for them; I don't care about what you are going to do unless it's something for them, either.). We sincerely hope you will continue to support our team in the future. With thanks...
Now I know why political campaign donors are the way they are. They don't want to be just another face in the crowd.

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