How to write a Letter of Acknowledgment

A specific category of thank-you is the acknowledgment of a gift given or a contribution made. An acknowledgment letter is similar to a thank-you note. If there is a difference, a thank-you note typically focuses on one short-term action, such as a birthday present you have received. An acknowledgment usually signifies something long term, such as the support a friend or relative has given you during a particularly difficult period.

Thank-you letters are event driven; for instance when your father co-signs for the loan on your first condo. An acknowledgment is emotion driven; for example, you feel an overwhelming need to thank your dad for all the love he has given you as a parent. Both thank-you letters and acknowledgments cement your bond with the reader. But an acknowledgment may be even more powerful because it is not expected. Acknowledgment is a spontaneous act, compared with thanks, which are expected as the social norm.

Tips for Writing Acknowledgments

• Be sincere and, if appropriate, even emotional.

• Talk about only positive things; do not bring up any past conflicts or problems.

• Recall specific events, deeds, and reasons why you are acknowledging the reader.

• Indicate the beneficial effect the reader’s actions have had on your life.

LETTER OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT

As its name implies, the letter of acknowledgment acknowledges a fact, situation, or action that has taken place, usually involving the recipient. According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, “acknowledge” means “to admit to be true, or as stated,” but an acknowledgment letter does more than acknowledge; it also responds.

Oftentimes, acknowledgements contain refusals or acceptances, or opinions and reactions. Your opinion and reaction may be mixed, with both positive and negative thoughts. Whenever stating a critique or opinion, give the positive first. Tell what you like and agree with. Then get to the negatives — what you don’t like and what you want changed.

Tips for Writing Acknowledgment Letters

• Regardless of whether your feelings are positive or negative, or whether you are accepting of or unreceptive to the situation or proposal before you, always start on a positive note and maintain a polite tone throughout your letter.

• In your acknowledgment, briefly recap the idea or proposal you are acknowledging. Do not repeat its history at length; the reader already knows it.

Handy Phrases: For taking the time to;We’re sorry you were; I agree that there is a need to; We are attempting to resolve; if you have any other concerns; Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Sample letters of acknowledgment:

Hi Marilyn,

I can’t believe you were able to get back to me with a great candidate so quickly.You are right, Ira Tamburo sounds ideal. I got your packet this morning and took a look through it. It looks great, please do have him work up a proposal for me.

Attached to this e-mail are the series guidelines that will give him an idea of the series tone, scope, and style. Also attached is my sales introduction sheet, outlining my vision for the book. For a writer who is new to a series, we do ask for the proposed table of contents and a writing sample for the series.

What does Mr. Tamburo’s availability look like right now? You note below that he is a fast writer and I would like to get this book off to the printer in February, which would mean receiving 100% of the manuscript in mid-October.

I’d be happy to answer any questions you or Mr. Tamburo have about the project or the proposal which I am very much looking forward to seeing.

Thanks!

In the letter below, the writer is acknowledging an unsolicited suggestion.

Dear Jim:

Thank you very much for the “customer helper” idea. As head of our sales department, I will immediately implement your suggestion of assigning a sales representative to customers planning home improvement.We are sure our customers will appreciate this additional service.

As our stores continue to profit, we know that the store managers will also be grateful for customers like you who help them improve their service.

Tony

 
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