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How to Write a Thank You Note - Best Tips and Examples
Writing thank you notes is something we’ve all done, and likely from a young age. Many of us can remember our parents insisting we send thank you notes to our relatives. While it was challenging to write a thank you note then, particularly because of how hard it was to generate enthusiasm over yet another sweater, one might imagine it gets easier as adults.
And yet, many people still aren’t entirely comfortable with the form. This article will break down a thank you note into its constituent parts and then provide some concrete examples that you can use as starting points for your thank you cards. Let’s get started!
THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF A THANK YOU NOTE
Thank you notes don’t need to be lengthy. You aren’t writing a letter. The point is to express your heartfelt gratitude in a bite-sized communication that your recipient can quickly appreciate and digest. As such, these notes all follow a basic structure that you can use to create your own.
Of course, you’re free to play with the form as you wish, but you might consider following these guidelines to start until you’re comfortable with writing a basic thank you note.
Begin With a Standard Greeting
Nothing groundbreaking here. Thank you cards start the way most other written communications do, with an opening salutation of the “Dear So and So” variety.
Pay attention to your level of formality. In most cases, it’s fine to address your recipient by their first name, particularly if you know them well. However, if you’re sending a thank you note in a business context or for some other formal purpose, stick with an honorific and your recipient’s last name, like “Mrs. Johnson” or “Mr. and Mrs. Davis.”
How you preface their name is up to you. “Dear Leslie” is a perennial favorite, but you could also try “Greetings, Mr. Smith”, “Hi, Larry”, or “Hello Ms. Roberts.”
Move Directly Into “Thank You”
We weren’t kidding when we said that thank you notes should be short and sweet. Once you’ve gotten your salutation out of the way, go right into your thanks. Writing this way lets your reader know the purpose of your card immediately.
Be specific about what you’re thanking them for. More than likely they already know, but it’s nice to remind them. It’s better to say “thanks for the beautiful blouse” rather than “thanks for the present.” It shows that you were paying attention and provides a bridge into the next section of the card, as you’ll see.
Here are a few examples.
- “Thanks so much for the coffee maker!”
- “How did you know I wanted colored pencils? I was so delighted when they arrived!”
- “I really appreciated the chance to meet with you about your business opportunity.”
- “Thank you for your generous contribution to my fundraiser!”
Expand on the Reasons for Your Thanks
After thanking your recipient, add a line or two about why you appreciate them. This helps personalize the card and lets the reader know what you loved about their gesture. You might say something like:
- “I can’t function without my coffee, and since our old pot broke, I’ve been struggling to get out the door. You’ve made my morning’s great again!”
- “I’m so excited to start drawing with the kids. I can’t wait to show you what they’re capable of!”
- “I’ve been hoping for something to help me break free of the nine to five grind, and your opportunity seems to be exactly what I’m looking for.”
- “Helping feed hungry children has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, and your donation will help bring our organization closer to its goals.”
Show That You Appreciate the Giver as Well
It’s not enough to thank your loved one for their gift. You also want to include a personal thought that extends your thanks to the contributions they make to your life. This often involves making plans to meet sometime in the future, but other sentiments are fine, too. You might say:
- “If you’re ever down our way, I’d love to catch up.”
- “We’ll be in your area visiting family this March. We’d love to have dinner with you one night before we leave.”
- “You seem like a savvy business person, so I hope to get the chance to pick your brain again in the future.”
- “It’s generous people like you that keep our vision alive. We couldn’t do it without you.”
SEE ALSO: 5 Sample Sympathy Thank You Notes
Reprise Your Thanks
Your thank you note should begin and end the same way — with a heartfelt statement of thanks. Closing with a thank you leaves your reader feeling appreciated, which is why you’re writing in the first place. Appropriate closing thanks include:
- “Thank you again for the wonderful gift.”
- “The family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
- “I appreciate your willingness to meet with me.”
- “Everyone here is grateful for your unmatched generosity.”
Now all that’s left to do now is sign off. Be sure that your closing matches the appropriate level of formality. “Sincerely”, “Yours truly”, “Your friend”, and “With all our love” are all good choices, depending on the context.
Now let’s put it all together. Here are a few sample thank you notes that demonstrate the structure above. Read them to get a sense of how all five sections flow into each other.
SEE ALSO: 5 Sample Thank You Cards for Business
Birthday Gift Thank You Note - Casual
Thank you so much for your lovely and unexpected birthday gift. The writing journal you chose fits my needs perfectly. I’ve been working on making writing a daily habit, and your present will help me keep my commitment. I can’t wait to get started! You’ve always been very special to me, and your gift reminds me of why I like you so much. Maybe we could get together for a beer sometime soon? I’d love that. Thanks again for knowing me so well and providing such a perfect present.
All my love,
Job Interview Thank You Card - Formal
Dear Mr. McDonald,
I appreciated the chance to interview for your open editor position yesterday. I’ve been following your organization with great interest, and I’m excited by the chance to make a contribution to your company. I think your leadership style would be a good fit for my skill set. I’d love the opportunity to meet again if you feel I’m worthy. Thanks again for meeting with me!
LET SIMPLY NOTED SEND YOUR THANK YOU NOTES FOR YOU
A handwritten thank you note is the best way to express gratitude. But if you send a lot of them throughout the year, you may not have the time to pen them all by hand. Simply Noted can help.
Our fleet of handwriting machines use real ballpoint pens to craft wonderfully personal thank you notes that look and feel like the real thing. All you need to do is upload your messages and recipients, and we’ll take care of the rest! Give the gift of gratitude to all the special people in your life.