A thank you letter is a valuable and effective way to show gratitude and appreciation in any number of situations. In this article we’ll take a look at how best to craft a thank you letter, and provide examples as we go along.
This post has been updated in September 2021.
Thank You Letters: From Start to Finish
There are many situations when a thank you letter is very useful. Indeed, you should write a thank you letter whenever you feel it’s important. If you feel the need to create one or more thank you letters, then perhaps you should.
Having said that, it’s quite true that these letters are often used to thank someone for a job or business opportunity. Likewise, these letters are also used to show gratitude to a particular professional whose work has been invaluable, such as a medical doctor or teacher. These letters may also work quite well to show appreciation to staff in a short-duration project; think of logistics specialists who prop up a whole event from start to finish.
Case Study 1: An ‘In Media Res’ Thank You Letter for a Business Opportunity in Transportation
Suppose you need to create a letter to thank a transportation company. You own and operate a bus and work as a contractor for a transportation company servicing special needs children.
In this case, the very first thing is to identify what you’re thankful for. Evidently, the first thing that comes to mind is expressing thanks for the contract to transport the children as such. You could very well open with such a pointed thank you:
Dear Mr. Baumgartner
I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for allowing me to work for your company this year, servicing the children in Route 4.
Expressing thanks from the very beginning may seem a little rushed, but it serves a good purpose. The thanks serve as an entry point to the letter and as a hook for the person reading it. The employer, Mr. Baumgartner, knows the details of the contract, so a compilation of what the contract is about would be too much information. A direct and immediate ‘thank you’ can work very well. We obviously need to keep going though.
We’ve started this thank you letter with a direct and immediate expression of gratitude. We need to elaborate further. Surely the contract is important. It means employment and income, but is that really all? Certainly not. Let’s try to dig deeper then:
Working Route 4 throughout the past year was deeply meaningful. Getting to know the children and their families, a special treat. Helping them in the best way I know how, a privilege. The new contract for the upcoming school year fills me with hope and a renewed sense of purpose.
Note that in this second paragraph we’re trying to convey what the contract really means. Surely, in the first paragraph of the thank you letter we’re thanking Mr. Baumgartner for the contract itself, quite directly. In the second paragraph, we’re trying to convey what we’re really giving thanks for: the opportunity to help the children and their families.
Now then, at this point we could try to make the letter a bit more personal. This means trying to link the situation which we’re giving thanks for with our own personal history. This could be something like this:
We strive, in life, to make a living. But such is the yearning of our humanity, that we strive, too, to give our work meaning. Purposeful work is always a strange sort of miracle: desired yet scarce, pursued yet hard to find.
Here we’re basically trying to go deeper in our thank you letter. We’ve already started by mentioning that we wish to give thanks for the contract. In the second paragraph we’re mentioning more of the specifics of why we’re thankful. In this third paragraph we’re trying to go deeper and talk about how the best work is not only one that pays the bills but one that’s meaningful and has purpose. We’re ready to round things out by tying this with the renewal of the contract:
The work here is a wonderful opportunity to gain employment by giving myself to others.
Now we can conclude the letter with a small sort of summary and then a “Sincerely” followed by the signature and/or name:
I hope to live up to the mission which you have entrusted me in this upcoming year. I will give my all to give the children and their families my best, in joy and gratitude.
Case Study 2: A ‘Slow Boil’ Thank You Letter for a Business Opportunity in Transportation
The thank you letter above follows a kind of unusual structure. We’re thanking Mr. Baumgartner from the very first paragraph. In the paragraphs that follow we’re going deeper into the thank you letter, commenting on the work itself, the opportunity to have meaning in a job, the chance to have meaning in this particular job. We’re then concluding and finishing the letter.
If we were to give it a fancy name, we could call it an ‘in media res’ thank you letter. We’re basically starting off ‘in the middle of things’. We can also write another type of letter. We can call it a ‘slow boil’ thank you letter, where we follow a more traditional start-to-finish structure, by telling a story of sorts:
Dear Mr. Baumgartner
I always yearned to find work which had real meaning. When I signed the contract to transport the special needs students in Route 4 last year, I had an inkling I had found it.
Note that we’ve started off by telling a story. You always wanted to find meaningful work. That’s the start of the story. Then, you found work transporting special needs children, and it seemed you’d found it. Let’s continue, in the next paragraph, by describing the first moments, or ‘era’, of such work:
The work certainly did not disappoint. I got to know the children and their families, as well as the school staff. The extremely helpful bus monitor, Ms. Benavidez, was an example of kindness and professionalism.
Ok, we’re describing the basic set-up and scenario. But what about this person’s role specifically? Let’s continue with this thank you letter:
The challenge was marvelous and I gave it my all. Being a part of this great project throughout the year was a special treat. I was able to transport the children to and from school. More importantly, I was able to play a part in their lives, making their transportation needs safer and better.
We can begin to wrap up the letter by looking forward to the new contract and the new year:
The renewal of the transportation contract for the new school year fills me with hope. To make a difference in the lives of the students and their families is a deeply meaningful mission, which I will strive to accomplish.
Finally, we can finish the thank you letter with a rather pithy ending:
I aim to continue to serve, to try my utmost, and give my all, in joy and gratitude.
We’ve tried to create two basic templates for thank you letters. The first one started more or less ‘in the middle of things’, with an immediate thank you at the very top. The second one was a bit different, a ‘slow boil’ telling a story from start to finish, in a more traditional way.
At the end of the day, though, we can use any sort of template we feel comfortable with. We can either try to emulate the two templates we discussed or fashion another one altogether.
Having said that, there are a few things which a thank you letter really should try to include, regardless of the structure we choose:
- Address it to the right person! Usually, a simple “Dear Mr. X” or similar greeting will suffice.
- When saying thanks, say that you’re grateful for the thing itself, like a contract or job opportunity. Make a brief mention of the details, so that the person clearly understands what you’re talking about.
- Afterwards though, try pointing out why this means so much to you and make it a bit more personal. Try to add details about the more immaterial things that the opportunity has afforded you.
- When making things more personal, attempt to reflect about what has brought you to this understanding and why the opportunity is so valuable to you. Here, try to link these things that you value so much with your own personal history and reflection.
- Finally, wrap things up with a simple summary or last word and then add a simple “Sincerely” or something like it.
The Bunny Studio Way
Written content can be a challenge. For most people, and companies too, there’s simply not enough time to create it. Moreover, specialized written content may be difficult to create in itself. There’s a know-how and experience which is needed to craft a potent specialized piece.
Fortunately, Bunny Studio can help. This online hub has a first rate roster of writers who can create all sorts of content. The process is very simple. You send in you project details and a writing pro will take care of things for you. If you want a thank you letter, for example, simply send in your project details, in as much detail as you want, and a pro will tackle the project.
The great thing about Bunny Studio is that the client comes first. Until you’re satisfied with the end result, Bunny Studio will keep at it, even changing writing talent as you see fit.