It Starts with a Signature

A common theme that has emerged over the last several weeks has been the one of being genuine: sincere or authentic. Leaders of any organization come in contact with many people in their daily course of work. Something I find myself thinking about is whether I am being genuine.

I once attended a workshop on fundraising where the presenter described how every time her husband received a letter in the mail with a signature, no matter the reason of the letter, he would run it under water to see if it was a genuine signature. If it was not, he would usually throw it out without even reading it.

As the leader of a nonprofit, I am constantly sending out letters to people I do and do not know seeking their support, inviting them to events, and thanking them for their help. While it is often times just one or two letters, there could be as many as 100 needing my signature at any time. When faced with this task, there are many options for signing my signature. I could simply print my signature on the letter when I print it or buy a stamp of my signature. However, in every instance, I choose to personally sign each letter that comes across my desk.

While that may sound like a lot of work at times, it is worth it. Including an authentic personal touch provides an opportunity to show your colleagues, supporters, and donors how much you truly appreciate them. It also gives you a moment to add an individualized note to them or provide some personalization to the letter.

Being genuine can mean many things, but next time you send a letter, think twice before you decide how you will sign it.

Brian Failing has been the executive director for the Aurora Regional Fire Museum for three years. Brian earned his Master of Arts in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University and his Bachelors of Arts in History and Urban & Suburban Studies from North Central College. He currently lives with his wife, Jackie, in Plainfield.

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