Free Letter-Writing Tips

While writing a heartfelt letter of appreciation may seem like an overwhelming task, it’s much easier than you think. After writing the date at the top, here’s what to include in your letter:

  1. A shared memory you each treasure. This is an icebreaker—something to bring you both together and make you smile as you reminisce. It’s a “Remember when…?” before you proceed with the main message of the letter.
  2. The person’s most admirable qualities, perhaps with examples. Jot down a few positive words that come to mind when you think of this individual. Then pick two or three of the most outstanding ones and write about those.
  3. The positive difference this person has made in your life or in the lives of others. Whether as a mentor or as an avid volunteer in the local or larger community, your letter’s recipient will feel acknowledged—perhaps for the first time—for having made the effort, and it will help bring meaning to their life.
  4. Your gratitude. It naturally follows that you will say thank you in your own words at this point. Speak from the heart.
  5. Your handwritten signature. If your entire letter is handwritten, end it with your complimentary close (“Love,” “Always,” “Sincerely,” etc.) with your signature below that. If you’re composing on a computer, leave space below your complimentary close for a later signature. For your letter to last longer and be less susceptible to humidity, use a laser printer as you print onto nice stationery; then sign the printout. But if you’re using an inkjet printer or don’t have nice stationery, print on plain paper and then get your unsigned letter duplicated onto nice stationery at your local copy center. Then sign the photocopy to use as your new original.