It is difficult to stay connected to former co-workers, bosses, mentors, and colleagues. You change jobs, move to a new city, have a baby, and before you know it, you have not communicated with someone in over two years. At that point the connection can be completely lost or awkward to rekindle.
To keep a connection fresh, you should ideally touch base at least two times a year, but once at a minimum. The touch should not be asking for something, but rather giving an update, checking in, or sharing a piece of news that might be interesting to your contact.
The perfect way to “touch” your contacts is through holiday cards. However, you don’t need to limit yourself to the typical holiday cards that are exchanged December though early January. In fact, sending a holiday card on a less popular holiday may resonate more with your reader.
Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia, sends out 500 drugstore valentines (remember the ones we addressed in grade school?) to secretaries and millionaires.
Pat Starnes, a realtor in Mississippi, sends Thanksgiving postcards between November 15-25 to beat the Christmas rush.
Are you patriotic? How about sending a card on the 4th of July or around Memorial Day? Celebrate veterans and our country while saying hello to your graduate school recommender.
You can also give back to the community and/or make a charitable donation while touching your contacts. For example, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital allows you to make any dollar amount donation (and it is not reflected on the card) in someone’s memory and send a card unaffiliated with any holiday.
The options are endless. Start thinking now about how to keep your contacts fresh—there are 10 federally recognized holidays in the USA alone!