CHEAT SHEET: WHO TO SEND THANK YOU CARDS TO AND WHEN

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In this age of instantaneous communication, it might seem like there is no need to send a personal Thank You Card to anyone anymore.  Surprisingly enough, there are many scenarios, both personal and business, for which this is still appropriate – and even expected.  The question is, who to send them to and when.

Below are the top scenarios for which this show of appreciation is still warranted and also appreciated by the recipient, along with guidelines for when to send the Thank You Card.

Gifts Received

  • Send within 6 weeks after receipt of the gift (sooner is better).

Scenarios:

  • Gifts received at an event that you host or is held in your honor.
  • Gifts received in acknowledgement of a major life event.
  • Gifts given by guests who could not attend and could not be thanked in person.

Examples:

Birthday · Anniversary · Engagement · Retirement · Graduation · Bridal Shower ·Wedding ·

Baby Shower · Birth of Baby · Baptism · Communion · Bar/Bat Mitzvah ·Confirmation · Congratulations · Housewarming · Surprise Party · Gifts received during an illness ·

Condolence Notes/Gifts

Kindness/Show of Appreciation

  • Best to send within a few days of the kindness you have received, but can be sent up to 2 weeks later. Beyond that time-frame, the sentiment will lose some impact.

                Scenarios:

  • A favor from a friend or neighbor such as pet sitting, house sitting, transportation, errands, etc.
  • After a hospital stay, to thank a nurse or doctor who went above and beyond.
  • To thank an exceptional teacher or babysitter.

Thank the Host/Hostess

  • Best when sent within a few days after the occasion, but best if sent no more than 2 weeks later.

                Scenarios:

  • A friend’s dinner party
  • An extended visit at someone’s home

Employment Search

  • Best when sent within 1 day of the interview, but no more than 2-3 days later.

Tips:

  • Not necessarily required, but definitely recommended.
  • Shows the interviewer that you have manners and reinforces your interest in the position.
  • Makes you stand out from the competition (most people do not send them).
  • Puts your name in front of the interviewer again.
  • Should be sent to each person who interviews you.

Business Thank You Cards

  • Should be sent within 5 business days after the event or action you wish to acknowledge, but no more than 10 business days (2 weeks) later. Sooner is always better.

Scenarios:

  • After meeting with a prospective new customer.
  • After a customer places their first order.
  • In appreciation of a customer’s continued business.
  • To a customer who has been patient in a difficult situation.
  • To the host of a business meeting or conference you were invited to and attended.

There may be many other reasons to send a hand-written Thank You Card.  The point is, there is really no reason not to take the initiative to show your appreciation to another person.  So go ahead!  Be creative, be appreciative, and send a beautiful Thank You Card.  It will be well-received!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sasha March 22, 2016 at 10:40 am

But is there a bad time to send thank you cards? It is proper etiquette to send them.

Stacey March 22, 2016 at 4:00 pm

I keep thank you cards at my desk so I can get them out ASAP while it is fresh on my mind.

Nancy M. September 14, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Six weeks sounds like a long time to wait to receive an acknowledgement for a gift. My rule of thumb is one week after the event, unless you’ve just given birth then six weeks is perfectly understandable.

Sandra P. February 6, 2017 at 1:03 pm

I would have never thought to send a thank you card after a job interview, but that is a great idea

Laurie February 7, 2017 at 10:51 am

I was always told and have read in etiquette books and articles that up to 6 weeks is the acceptable amount of time to send a thank you note for a gift, particularly a wedding gift. Of course, sooner than this makes a much stronger impact! When you are insisting that your children write their own thank you notes, having a little wiggle room regarding the appropriate time frame probably helps. I have heard of some parents who do not let their children enjoy or play with their gifts until the thank you notes are sent! That seems rather strict to me, but it certainly makes the point!

Paolo November 24, 2017 at 1:42 pm

You can never say thank you too much.

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