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Friday, January 6, 2017

How to write a thank-you note for work

Do you write thank-you notes these days?

Most people don’t, but they are still vitally needed in professional situations especially.

Expressions of gratitude don’t need to be as formally crafted as Thomas Jefferson might have written one on a piece of personalized stationary, but in professional settings they should appear in a timely way on company letterhead, especially if the gratitude being expressed is for a requested donation of goods and services for some kind of charitable event.

Three considerations to keep in mind when taking the time to be courteous:
1.       They should be written to the liaison who arranged for the contribution and any other person involved in the delivery of the contribution should be acknowledged in the body of that letter. 
2.       The company’s name should also be stated as part of the thank-you note because the company will often contribute to a cause or foundation in order to build good will in the community.  That good will doesn’t grow unless the company’s name is recognized.
3.       The amount or type of gift or action should be expressly named because thank-you letters become part of the documentation that companies needs to keep records and report actions to others who are trusting them to fulfill these tasks with integrity.

Satisfying the urge or need to say thank you in other ways will often backfire if they don’t provide the needed documentation, seem carelessly written, or lack the professionalism that others expect in their workplace colleagues. Here are three ways not to send a thank-you note for a gift or contribution:

1.  A text message sent only to the liaison of the gift places the liaison in a very uncomfortable position of looking as if he/she stole the company’s glory—hijacked the good will and reputation the company deserves.   

2.  Sending only a text message to the liaison will determine whether that person will be eager to play ambassador again.  He or she won’t because it puts his/her job or reputation in jeopardy.

3.  The same content used in a direct message on Facebook or an email doesn’t serve the receiving party well either.  Why?  It doesn’t provide the good will that the company needs or the tool the board or the people responsible for making the decision to give need in order to prove that the monies or goods were put to worthwhile use.  The thank-you note functions as a kind of documentation for the board, and without it, the board or other management members have only word of mouth.   Making a one-size fits all Facebook update post adding the names of the contributors doesn’t do the job of saying thank-you either.  It isn’t personal, and hoping that announcement will reach all of the people responsible for making the gift is cavalier and ill considered.

Writing a real thank-you note takes the carelessness out of other ways that people try to quickly say thanks without taking the time to say it thoughtfully, carefully, in ways that can be shared with all the people who had a vote in how to be generous for the good of all involved.

If you haven’t sent a thank-you note or letter lately, consider why not. Then, resolve that in order to work more harmoniously with others, taking the time to say thank you in all the ways that you can and in the ways where it is required more formally is worth the investment of your time and words.

Daphne's latest book is Christmas in Fountain City

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