A How-To Guide to Setting Up a Thank You System
Growing up, sending a thank you card was a rule that was strictly enforced. I wasn’t allowed to play with toys or spend birthday money or gift cards until thank you cards had been written and presented for approval and mailing.
It stuck. Even now, if I send a gift or donation and don’t receive a thank you of some sort, I’m irritated.
Luckily, thank you cards are simple and take a minute to do; if you’re not in the habit of sending them, it’s not too late. And if you’re not sure how to create your own thank you correspondence system, we’ve got you covered.
Get Your Supplies
Get a set of blank cards and envelopes, and keep stamps handy. Stick with blank cards, if only because you can also use them to send other notes (i.e. sympathy, congratulations, get well soon, we’ll miss you).
Your stationery doesn’t have to be fancy, although you can design your own and have them printed relatively cheap (we like Canva, see our Tools section for more). Keep designs simple and consistent with your personal brand.
Also, always handwrite your cards, even if your handwriting sucks.
When to Send
It goes without saying thank you cards are sent when you want to thank someone for a gift. But, don’t limit yourself. For the cost of a card and a stamp, you can send a smile for all sorts of situations:
- Send a thank you card to speakers at events who gave a speech or presentation that inspired you or was particularly interesting. If you’ve ever given a speech, you know it takes time and practice. Sending a quick note to someone, even if you didn’t meet them, can be a big confidence boost for the speaker. It doesn’t hurt in the Making Connections department, either.
- Send a thank you card to someone who made your life easier, whether that was their explicit goal or not. I once worked with a really great vendor for an event, and their admin team is what made them great. The team was doing their job, sure, but they did it well and went above and beyond. It made my life MUCH easier.
- Send a thank you card to someone who helped someone you love. I’ve sent cards to my grandmother’s neighbors when they do something nice for her. It lets people know their small acts are appreciated, particularly when distance or work prevents you from doing it yourself.
How to Write
Thank you cards aren’t hard to write, and you can make them as sappy as you’d like. You want to stick with these bullet points:
- Greeting: “Dear Ms. Smith” (unless you’ve formed some kind of bond with the recipient and/or they don’t outrank you, stick with last names).
- Intro: “Thank you so much for [insert reason for card here]”
- Why: “You were so helpful and made my life so much easier,” or a quick sentence as to why you loved the gift”
- Something Sweet/Personal: “I hope you had a safe trip home”
- Close: “Looking forward to seeing you soon” or “Cant wait to see what you’ll do next.”
These sections should be applied to most professionally related cards, but you can add or expand on these bullet points to be more personal. If the card is work-related, you can be personal but not overly familiar.
How to Address Envelopes
You already know how to address envelopes, but here’s a refresher:
Adopt this “send a thank you card” rule into your workflow, and I promise you’ll thank me letter (pun/dad joke intended).