Thank-you cards come in a wide range of styles to cover every conceivable occasion. Use formal thank-you cards when casual or cutesy expressions don't quite match your giver, gift or occasion. For example, thanking sales prospects, exceptional employees, major contributors, job interviewers and wedding gift-givers merit a touch of formality. While thank-you card messages tend to be shorter than letter messages due to space limitations, formal cards add a personal touch that formal letters might dilute. Succinct and sincere thank-you messages in formal cards can effectively build goodwill and strengthen your relationships with your readers.
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Select a card that is simple and elegant. You can purchase and personalise a set of stylish, blank cards from retail and online stores to have these cards handy at all times. If you're a business, you can have a local printer produce cards with your logo printed or embossed on them. In any case, ensure that your cards can be run through your personal printer to allow for times when you'd rather print than hand-write your message.
Date your message, and then write your greeting. For example, write "Dear Tom and Joan:" If are not on a first-name basis with your reader, then write "Dear" followed by his personal title and surname. For example, write "Dear Mr. Alvarez:" Always end your salutation with a colon.
Begin your message with, "Thank you for," and then complete the sentence with a description of the item or act for which you are expressing thanks. For example, "Thank you for your warm letter of congratulations," or "Thank you for your generous comments about my speech." Alternatively, begin with a comment about the gift or gesture, and then express thanks afterward. For example, "I was thrilled to receive your e-mail notifying me about a bonus. Thanks so very much;" or, "It was very thoughtful of you to host an impromptu fund-raising dinner for our church. Thank you."
Note any special effort that may have gone into a gift or gesture, or how it will help you in the future. For example, "You went through extraordinary lengths to help me complete our submission. Thanks to you, we met the deadline with a strong package that I am confident will result in an award."
Express your appreciation again. If applicable, offer to reciprocate a kind or generous gesture. Close with "Sincerely yours," "Best wishes," "Cordially." Then, sign your name above your printed name and, if applicable, title.
Tips and warnings
- Space permitting, you may add your reader's name and address block between the date and salutation. However, this is optional in a thank-you card. The formality of your message will depend more on your tone and physical card attributes than in your message's strict adherence to formal letter formats.
- A generic thank-you message with your signature defeats the purpose of a thank-you card. Personalise your message by referencing the giver and the gift or gesture.
- Rather than express any dissatisfaction or disappointment with your gifts, focus on your reader's generosity.
- You may print or legibly hand-write your message. If your handwriting is difficult to read, then print your card instead.
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