A proper e-mail

October 7th, 2010

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.

5 Responses to “A proper e-mail”

  1. Susan on October 7, 2010 6:27 am

    He was once removed, but after a quick time-out he got his act together again.

    Hee, cute!

    Someday, when I find that elusive place where grown-ups can raise money by reading a lot (I assume this place will also have hot chocolate on tap and fluffy slippers to wear) I hope I’ll be able to send out as nice an e-mail as that.

  2. Amy R. on October 7, 2010 9:00 am

    The other night, I got a fundraising email from my mother on behalf of my 20 year old brother. Would that he had taken your grandcousin’s approach! Good luck to him!

  3. akmom on October 7, 2010 10:56 am

    Love it – both the email and the innovative fundraiser!

  4. Elizabeth on October 7, 2010 3:01 pm

    So, are you making a pledge? ;-)

    I agree, that’s a really nice letter.

  5. JDavidJ on October 8, 2010 2:41 am

    I begged the HR and IT depts, at the company where I worked, to train the thousands of e-mail users in etiquette (who to copy in on replies, and crucially, adding a meaningful subject). They never did. Your grandcousin should go into training, and show adults how to correspond!

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