A proper e-mail

Last week, I received an e-mail from my 10-year-old grandcousin.* The subject line was “Read-a-Thon,” and was sent from my grandcousin to his own e-mail address, with recipients in the BCC. The text was as follows:


I am e-mailing you to ask if you will sign up for a fundraiser for [NAME] School called the read-a-thon. It is when I ask you to donate money to my school for every minute I read.

I will let you decide on how much you will pay me per minute. I plan to read 500 to 800 minutes,maybe more. I hope to raise $500. 1c per minute would equal $8.00, and 5c per minute would equal $40.00. Please reply telling me if you would like to participate, and how much money you will give per min. if you will participate.

I will take any contribution, including just an amount no matter how much I read.

I don’t normally do this,so this is new and exciting. Thank You.


I thought this was pretty darned good. Informative subject header, recipients kept private, full information (including, usefully, doing the math on an 800-minute commitment), no pressure except to let him know, and appropriate thanks and excitement about the endeavor expressed.

How many e-mails have you gotten from adults that aren’t as concise, respectful, and informative as that? I know I’ve gotten plenty.

And I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon, but I’ve got a new name on my list for people to take over the column if I ever do.

*My cousins’ kid. Technically, he is my first cousin once removed, but I prefer the term “grandcousin.” He was once removed, but after a quick time-out he got his act together again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>