The sweetest words to a voter or donor’s ear is…their name.

Actually, that’s true of all human beings. And is why you should use someone’s name as often as appropriate and possible in your communications.

But when I get an email or fundraising letter addressed to “Charles” – my given name – it’s as off-putting as if they didn’t use my name at all. Why?

Because for 58 years now I’ve gone by the name “Chuck.” Even by my own mother!

So anyone who uses “Charles” is telling me they don’t really know me.

But here’s the problem. In order to process an online sale or donation, we ask people to provide us the name on their credit card – which is usually their legal name, not the nickname they go by.

As such, follow-up contacts to our customers and supporters is to a name that has the opposite effect of the one we intend.

Well, I just discovered something a blind, gourmet coffee maker in rural Nevada does that’s so mind-numbingly simple I can’t believe everyone isn’t already doing it. He simply added one additional field on his online registration form…

“Friendly Name.”

So I typed in my nickname, “Chuck,” in that box. Then typed in my legal name as it appears on my credit card in the “First Name” box.

So my payment was processed with no complications – but when Blind Dog Coffee writes to me in the future, they’ll simply mail-merge my “Friendly Name” in the document.

If you’re payment processor doesn’t allow the addition of this field, contact them and ask for it. Or maybe it’s time to look for a new payment processor.

This slight, little change can be worth its weight in gold.