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.

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5 Responses to A proper e-mail

  1. Susan says:

    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. says:

    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 says:

    Love it – both the email and the innovative fundraiser!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    So, are you making a pledge? ;-)

    I agree, that’s a really nice letter.

  5. JDavidJ says:

    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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