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As a former nonprofit director, and a lucky person with some wonderfully thoughtful friends and family, I have written thousands of thank you notes over the years. Most days I pride myself on writing a good one. I have also sent thank you notes ridiculously late (years!), and I’ve been guilty of just plain neglecting to write others. What’s a gal to do?! Read on for my list of thank you note do’s and don’ts.
THANK YOU NOTE DO’S
✔ Open the note with a simple “thank you”.
✔ Add a sentence or two acknowledging the specific gift, visit, and/or gesture that you are thankful for, including a mention of how you are using it, or why you appreciate it.
✔ Close your note with a sentence relating to the giver. For example, “I look forward to seeing you next month at…”, or “I can’t wait to hear more about your upcoming…”.
✔ Choose a stationery that suits your style, while also keeping the recipient in mind.
✔ Adapt the formality of your note to the recipient. When in doubt, err on the side of more formal.
✔ Be sincere! A great thank you note doesn’t require fancy words or perfect language--speak from the heart.
THANK YOU NOTE DON’TS
✘ Don’t misspell a name, or mistake the form of the name (Mr., Ms., reversing first and last name, etc.).
✘ Don’t forget to sign off with a strong complimentary close that will leave your recipient feeling good. Examples include, “Warm regards”, “With gratitude”, “Until next time”, “Hugs!”.
✘ Don’t get sloppy when you are writing a big batch of thank you notes. Each recipient will only see the one that arrives at his or her mailbox.
✘ Don’t ever think that it is too late to send a thank you! If it is really late, briefly acknowledge your tardiness, then move on to your genuine gratitude.
✘ Don’t get bitter if you didn’t like the gift or gesture. Instead, keep your grace and integrity about you, and look for the positive intent in the person’s actions.
✘ Don’t forget to thank people for a gift of their precious time.