Are thank you notes still relevant in today's society?
A thank you note, especially when handwritten, is a prime example of the gift of time and attention. It's a tangible gesture that feels so much more meaningful than a simple text or email, due to the fact that it's rare to receive and more time consuming to send. Most Americans receive fewer than 3 handwritten notes in a year, so it's a wonderful opportunity to make someone's day!
When is it appropriate to write a thank you note?
As a rule of thumb, anytime you feel a deep sense of gratitude for someone and their gesture, send a thank you note!
In everyday life these events may look like:
when you receive a gift
someone treats you to dinner
someone invites you over to their home
If someone does a favor for you, or anything that causes you to stop and think "gosh, that was really kind of them" then that's the perfect time to send them a handwritten thank you note.
In business these events may look like:
when someone refers a new client to you
when a new client signs on
when an employee goes above and beyond
when a significant milestone is reached
One of the most rewarding aspects of our work at Hello Mailbox is seeing the shift in our clients' mindset once they realize how easy it is to send thoughtful handwritten notes with our service. At first, they feel like they need to reserve thank you notes for big gestures, but once they see how impactful it is they start sending thank you notes for everything!
What should the note include?
Thank them for the event/gift by focusing on WHY it meant so much to you, more than the thing itself. The more personalized the letter is, the better it will be received. If you're feeling writer's block, get inspired by reading thank you notes from historical figures like Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
Is a text/email as effective as a written thank you?
A thoughtful text or email is certainly better than nothing, and most appropriate for smaller gestures like thanking someone for coffee or a casual acquaintance. Although it is likely that a text or email won’t have the same effects as a written note, and due to the over saturation of digital messaging, it could likely be missed by the receiver. Likewise, if you aren't able to find a good mailing address for the person, send a text or email instead and include a mention that you'd love to have their address to send a handwritten note in the future!
What is the correct time frame to send a thank you?
Timeliness is really important because it shows that the gift made an impact on you and you made time to express your gratitude for it. Try to send thank you notes as soon as possible, typically within a week of the event if you can. We've all been in the situation where we procrastinated on sending a note and created an awkwardly long gap between the event/gift and when you finally get around to sending the thank you. It happens, but don't let it prevent you from actually sending the note. Better late than never! You can easily diffuse the awkwardness with a simple apology for the time gap, if you feel it's necessary.