Dr. and Coach Catana Starks, the coach profiled in our film From the Rough, passed
Pitney Bowes is sponsoring a program with the American Red Cross called Holiday Mail for Heroes to enable Americans to send cards to active and wounded members of the armed services, military families, and veterans during the holiday season.
This is the second year of the campaign, and it has shown me not only the power of these handwritten letters and cards for those receiving them, but for the senders and the people who have volunteered to get them to the recipients. Today, we desperately need to come together and connect emotionally. The fear that the economic crisis has caused in many people has had the effect of making them suffer alone, and of making them believe that they are powerless to help themselves or others.
This campaign has the effect of enabling those who write the letters to feel that they can help someone else, and those who receive to feel that their service is appreciated by others. Those who wrote the letters and cards last year commented that the effort to pour their hearts and souls into their messages was liberating and energizing. Recipients felt like they had many people supporting them.
This is a value for physical mail that cannot possibly duplicated in an electronic medium. Aside from the evidence that a person sending a personal letter or card has invested money and time beyond what would be required in an e-mail, there is greater and more power from something tangible that comes to us in atoms versus bits.
One of my executive assistants Connie Telesco actually began years ago to send cookies, cakes, pies, and other items she had baked to those serving overseas. But even those who just send letters and cards can create something very personal in the words, graphics, and choice of writing materials they use.
Recently, I read a very insightful book about communications entitled Buyology by Matthew Lindstron. Although the book was intended to be focused on the way in which different marketing approaches affect our brain and central nervous system, one of the most powerful messages in the book is that those communications that call upon our senses of touch, smell, sound, and taste are more powerful than those which rely heavily on the sense of sight.
When we communicate with cards, letters, baked goods, and small gifts, we connect far more with recipients than if we send e-mails or even present recipients with the most technologically sophisticated multi-media web site. There is something very primal in our responses that we may not even fully understand consciously, but that has a strong effect on how we feel about what we receive and who sent it to us.
Recently, I conducted a Webinar on the Future of Mail sponsored by the Global Envelope Alliance I did not choose to make predictions on the future of mail, but rather to talk about why mail can have a bright future if we focus on its advantages. By far its most sustainable advantage is its ability to help human beings who cannot be in each other’s presence connects and helps one another emotionally.
I hope that everyone reading this blog will choose to participate in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, which you can learn more about by going to www.redcross.org/holidaymail.