Thank You Notes are a simple way of showing gratitude towards someone who has done something kind for you.
Whenever someone gives you a gift or helps you out, they’re taking a piece of their own resources and handing it to you, a resource that could have been used to plan for their own future. With that consideration, a thank you note is a very tangible way to show your thanks for that gift. It’s something that takes just a moment or two of your own time, yet clearly and permanently shows gratitude for a gift to someone else.
How to Write an Effective Thank You Note
First of all, thank you notes should be written on your stationery.
- I’m partial to very simple cards with an elegant image on the front and a blank inside upon which a note can be written.
Second, always hand write a thank you note.
- A handwritten thank you note has a certain level of elegance that you just can’t capture by typing and printing a note. Take out your pen and write down your thoughts. If you prefer, you can draft the note at the keyboard, but then copy your final text from the screen to the card.
Given that, it’s okay to use printed labels to save time with addressing the envelopes.
- Whenever we have many cards to send, I always print a sheet of address labels using my electronic address book. Not only does this save time, it also ensures accuracy of the address. As long as the note inside is handwritten, this is completely appropriate.
Addressing the thank you note.
- Start off with the word “Dear,” then imagine you walked into a room and saw this person (or these people) without having seen them for a year. How would you address them? That’s what you should use next. For example, if it’s an old friend, use their first name. If it’s one of your parents’ friends that you don’t know particularly well, use Mr. and Mrs. Last Name.
Tips for writing an ideal Thank You Note
- Written on stationary, not on notebook, advertising or scrap paper.
- Legible, neat and easy to read
- The note should be handwritten, not typed.
- If more than one person at the receiving address should be thanked, list all names on both the envelope and the salutation.
- If non-family members at the receiving address should be thanked, send separate notes.
- The message should be brief and to the point.
- “Thank you very much” should be said only once in the note.
- Remember to send your note quickly. Two or three weeks is perfect and eight weeks is the absolute latest you should be sending out thank you letters.
Things to Include in Your Note
- The reason you are writing the note; (i.e.: for a gift or award).
- Mention the occasion for the recognition of the gift; (i.e.: 9th Birthday).
- Mention the gift specifically; (i.e.: jewelry, green sweater, pen and pencil set)
- State why the gift is important to you; and share how you will utilize the award or gift.
- If you received money, tell the giver how you expect to use it. (Purchase clothing, an item you’ve save for, save for college, etc.). However, never write down the amount of money given – refer to the gift as “money”.
- Share any special, sentimental or unique meaning which the gift may have.
When to send a Thank You Note
- For personal notes, you should use blank, hand-written notes in lieu of emails, phone calls or text messages. In short, send a thank you note when someone does something for you that has a positive impact on their life.
- Shower Gifts – Even though the gift giver attended the shower in your honor and you had a chance to say thanks for her gift, you should still send a written note.
- Wedding Gifts – Each wedding gift should be acknowledged with a written note within three months of receipt of the gift. It’s best to write the notes as soon as possible after gifts arrive, however. Write a note even if you have thanked the giver in person.
- Congratulatory Gifts or Cards – Anyone who sends a present, or a card with a personally written message, should receive a note in return.
- Gift received when sick – Thank you notes should be written as soon as the patient feels well enough—or a friend or relative can write the notes. It’s okay to call close friends rather than write.
- Condolence Notes or Gifts – Everyone who has sent a personal note, flowers or a donation should get a written thank-you. A close friend or relative can write the notes on the recipient’s behalf.
When you send handwritten thank you notes — it allows individuals who have sent gifts to know you received the gift, how much you appreciated it and how important their gift was to you.