We get plenty of help from others during the course of our lives, and it’s never a bad idea to say “Hey, thanks for the assist!” Writing a letter of appreciation to someone who’s lent you a hand makes it more likely that those who’ve helped you will do so again when you need them.
Why Write an Appreciation Letter?
Grateful people tend to be happier. There’s even research that says so. We get a psychological boost when we express our gratitude.
Being appreciated matters to people we know, too. When we make it a habit to notice the things that others do well or the ways in which they help us, we give them a boost that encourages them to keep doing their best.
—Tony Schwartz, “Why Appreciation Matters So Much”
Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which frees us to do our best work. It’s also energizing. When our value feels at risk, as it so often does, that worry becomes preoccupying, which drains and diverts our energy from creating value.
Expressing thankfulness to colleagues and friends lets them know that their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. It’s also a gesture that people are likely to remember, and one that will leave them with a favorable impression of you.
How to Write a Letter of Appreciation
Your appreciation letter doesn’t have to be long or effusive. Keep it simple and sincere. Here’s what to include.
In most cases, “Hi [Name]” will do. In more formal correspondence, like when you’re writing to your boss, a hiring manager, or your professor, “Dear [Name]” is a better choice. In very formal correspondence, use “Dear Ms/Mr. [Last Name],” instead.
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Your appreciation letter doesn’t have to be long or effusive. Keep it simple and sincere.
Name the thing the recipient helped you with. Although it’s fine to express general gratitude from time to time (“Thanks for always being willing to lend a hand when I need you”), referring to a specific event is more effective (“Thanks for putting in extra time to make our presentation a success.”)
Give a few specific details. You could include things that the person did that were especially useful, or give an example of how the person went above and beyond. Details show the person you’re corresponding with that you were paying attention to their efforts.
End the letter with a closing line and your signature. “Thanks again” is always a good choice. Here’s more advice on how to end an email if you’d like a different close.
Sample Letters of Appreciation
Here are a few examples of appreciation letters for different scenarios. Use them for inspiration, but be sure your own letter is personalized and heartfelt. Canned correspondence won’t do when you’re trying for genuine gratitude.
Sample Letter of Appreciation for Good Work
Thank you for escorting our guest speakers during the workshop last week. You went out of your way to make everyone feel comfortable, which allowed me to focus on setting up the AV equipment and running sound checks.
I spotted you not only getting people their presentation materials but also fetching water and coffee. If anyone needed anything, you were there to provide it for them. All of our speakers mentioned how helpful you were. Your thoughtfulness and attention to detail helped forge lasting relationships. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Sample Letter of Appreciation to a Boss (Formal)
I’d like to express my deepest appreciation for your excellent mentoring during my internship at Latham & Sons. You not only celebrated my wins, you turned every mistake into a learning opportunity. Your guidance has been influential, and I know it will shape my developing skills and habits as I move into my professional career.
Sample Letter of Appreciation to an Employee
I want to tell you how much I appreciate your help getting our store ready for opening day. You worked hard, and you were always willing to put in extra time if the situation called for it. I’m grateful for your attention to detail—our displays look amazing as a result of your skills.
I’m confident you’ll be a great asset to the business and an excellent resource for customers now that we’ve opened our doors to the world. Keep up the good work!
Sample Letter of Appreciation for Support
Thank you for your support during my family crisis. I’m deeply grateful not only for you covering my workload while I was away but also for the times you checked in on me. Knowing you had my back allowed me to focus on my family’s needs, which is a kindness I’ll never forget. I appreciate everything you’ve done more than you’ll ever know.