Thank you notes

Using event photos in mail merged thank you notes helps recruiting for future events.

  1. Overview
  2. Data Correlation Tasks - this is the biggest opportunity to help
  3. Mail Merge Tasks

Overview

Because we rely on team volunteers to staff future events, I like to send a thank you which includes a photo of the volunteer's team or themselves in the action of doing their jobs.  This physical thank-you card, delivered with other holiday greeting cards at this time, will serve as a consistent reminder to the volunteer to apply for Champsionship.  This is most significant for recruiting judges.  

The process is somewhat lengthy and involved, but because we rely so completely on Judges' participation, I don't want to risk taking a shortcut on a process that has worked so well in the past.

I usually do this using a "mail merge" approach.  Even if you're not comfortable using mail-merge, there is plenty of work to be done to prepare the data: linking photos to volunteers by name or team number.  This is the most time intensive task, as it is really not something we have the tools to automate.  

Data Correlation Tasks

For any particular qualifier, you'll need to

  1. identify the volunteers using TMS volunteer page

    1. The 2015 list is linked here .

    2. I'll usually create a spreadsheet of all the volunteers involved in all the qualifiers from the TMS volunteer report, which includes their names, e-dresses and any team affiliation, as well as their volunteer role.  

    3. I add a column to know at which event they served.

    4. I will add a column for any special notes or comments I want to include in my message to the volunteer

  2. identify the photos -

    1. usually uploaded by the event photographers for each qualifier

    2. most events have a photo link on their event details page or awards page

    3. 2015 Qualifier photo links are listed below:

      1. East Metro is here.
      2. Aurora is here
      3. Liberty here.
      4. Weld here.
      5. Poudre Olivia, Jeff (& coming, Shawn)
      6. Grand Junction here
      7. Monarch here
      8. Preston TBD
      9. North Metro TBD
      10. SE Metro here
  3. manually link the photo to the volunteer -
    1. right click the photo to acquire the photo URL and paste that URL 
  4. I'll add a comment to the volunteer sheet if appropriate
  5. Then, looking at the photo and relating the volunteer, I'll add a comment (in the column mentioned above) about any detail that I think might relate the volunteer to the experience in a positive way.  

Mail Merge Detail Tasks

 My database is the list of volunteers, keyed off their e-mail address.  The 2015 list is linked above.

  1. I'll merge to an MS Publisher* document which
    1. includes a template for a greeting card  and
    2. supports mail-merge
      1. check YouTube or Google for "how to" use Publisher for mail merge.
    3. Includes a positive "Thank-you" from myself and ColoradoFIRST, the value of the program and their involvement, etc.
    4. *you can use whatever mail merge tool you are comfortable with.
    5. **Documents are located on the google drive under Volunteers>Thank-You Notes.
  2. Last year I sent physical cards.    My feeling was that a physical card with a personal touch would find a place of visibility in the volunteer's home alongside the other holiday greetings.  The card would be a consistent reminder to complete the volunteer appication process.  It worked for me last year.  I expensed ColoradoFIRST for the postage, cards and envelopes.
    1. I printed all the cards (mail merge),
    2. signed them personally,
    3. put them in envelopes.
    4. I merged the address labels and printed return labels. 
    5. Then mailed them in time for Christmas greetings: Dec 19.