Thank you cards can be an intimidating project to start, especially when you have etiquette questions regarding your responses. One scenario that can complicate matters is when a group of people gives you a gift. Whether everyone in the office pitches in for a retirement gift or sorority sisters all contribute to a bridal shower present, you may wonder how many thank you cards (and to whom) etiquette dictates you should send.
How Many Replies
If 10 or fewer people contributed to the gift, you need to send each one a reply individually. If the group consisted of more than 10 people, such as coworkers, classmates or a club, then you do not need to send individual replies. Instead, post a thank you message or note somewhere accessible by everyone, such as in a break room, library or lounge. Be sure to thank all who gave you the gift in person when you encounter them as well.
Specify the Gift
Make sure to mention the gift specifically, whether thanking everyone in a group note or composing individual ones. Specifying details about the gift, such as commenting on how much you like the color or the style, will show that you appreciate the gift itself. Offering thanks for a generic "gift" gives the impression you did not put time and effort into your thank you cards. Be sure to cover all details to make the givers feel their efforts were noticed.
Mention the Group Effort
When adding personal notes to your thank you cards, be sure to acknowledge the group effort. A group gift requires more coordination and cooperation among a number of people than an individual gift would. Include a remark on your card that expresses your appreciation for the group effort and the combined thoughtfulness.
Try to include an personalized note referencing the gift for each person who gave it when sending replies. For example, if you received a gourmet coffee basket, you might write a note to one coworker saying something like "We can enjoy the coffee together when we have lunch on Wednesdays," and send your supervisor a note that says, "This will keep me motivated and alert all day long." Make each person feel you appreciated their contribution.
A group thank you card should be sent in the same time frame as cards for individuals, within four to six weeks of receiving the gift. If posting one group card in an office or lounge, aim to do so as soon as possible after the event, within a week or two. This card does not have to be of the same stationery pack as the other thank you notes you send. Consider purchasing an average-size individual card for the group to share.