How to Write a Thank You Note

Michele Meleen
Woman writing greeting card

Learning how to write a thank you note includes reading tips for writing thank you letters from professionals. Thank you notes can be long or short and used for a variety of situations. Keep your goal of showing gratitude in mind and you'll find that you can easily write a thank you note for any occasion.

Step One: Choose Your Format

Thank you notes can take on many forms depending on the recipient, time constraints, and available materials. You might want to use a donation thank you letter template to craft long, personalized thank you notes for volunteers, sponsors, or even fundraiser participants. If you're giving thanks for one specific task or just for the sake of giving praise, you may opt for a printable thank you card with one or two handwritten sentences.

Step Two: Find the Right Tone

Thank you notes can be serious and formal or light and fun depending on the circumstance. Consider your thank you note recipient, what your relationship is like, and what you are giving thanks for.

Choose an Appropriate Greeting

Generally, thank you notes start with "Dear" followed by the recipient's name. Whenever possible you want to be specific in your greeting. For example, if you're sending a thank you note to a company that sponsored you, start with "Dear Company Name." If you are directing it to a specific person, use their name and make sure it's spelled correctly. Informal notes can simply start with the recipient's first name or a fun synonym for "Dear" such as "Greetings."

Step Three: Define What You're Thankful For

The key to making any thank you note feel personal is to clearly state specifically what you are thanking the recipient for at the beginning of the note. Chances are their contribution is unique in some way, so their thank you note should be too. While using the phrase "Thank you" is standard, there are other similar phrases and words that might better fit your thank you note like:

  • I/We appreciate
  • I/We recognize
  • Grateful/Gratitude
  • It's/You're a blessing
  • Thanks a bunch
  • I/We want to acknowledge
Hand Written Thank You Note

Words to Thank Volunteers

Look at examples of words to thank volunteers that showcase an emphasis on giving time and energy. Phrases such as "Thank you for the gift of time." or "We are grateful for the time you share with us." are easy ways to thank volunteers.

Words to Thank Someone for a Gift

If you're stuck on how to thank someone for a gift, like a fruit basket from volunteers for your birthday, read through some wedding thank you notes. Since these notes are all about showing gratitude for gifts, they can be customized to fit most other scenarios where gifts are given. Donations can also be treated as gifts when it comes to thank you notes. Instead of saying "Thanks for your donation," get more detailed and say "Thank you for donating the mug, pen, and magnet."

Words to Thank Someone for Money

Thanking someone for donating money typically takes on a formal and professional tone. Use a financial donation thank you letter sample to see how you can approach this sometimes sensitive subject. Be sure to include a brief statement on what you'll use the money for or how it will have an impact.

Step Four: Elaborate With Details

Once you have your greeting and opening statement of detailed thanks, it's time to elaborate with a few details. Consider including information about how the recipients actions will benefit you, your organization, or others. You can also include things like details about upcoming volunteer appreciation events or your hopes for the relationship in the future.

Step Five: Choose an Appropriate Closing

Consider the tone and format of your thank you note when choosing an appropriate closing for the note that will come right before your signature. One of the most common phrases to close a thank you note with is "Sincerely." Other great closings include:

  • Thanks again
  • With gratitude
  • Graciously yours
  • With great thanks
  • Many thanks to you

Step Six: Pick a Delivery Method

Most thank you notes are either hand-delivered or delivered by mail. If these delivery systems work for you, by all means use them. If you want your thank you note to be a little more unique and personal, think about clever thank you note ideas like sending video thank you messages or having messages piped onto baked goods as your thank you note. The process is the same for creating these fun thank you note deliveries, only you won't necessarily write out the note yourself. Although the world is steeped in technology, email, text, or social media thank yous still tend to feel impersonal, so avoid them whenever possible.

A Note to Express Gratitude

One of the simplest ways to thank someone, or express gratitude, is with a quick and thoughtful thank you note. Writing a thank you note is easy when you focus on your real feelings and the specifics of what you're thanking someone for.

How to Write a Thank You Note