Letter of acknowledgement

Letter of acknowledgement
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Letter of acknowledgment provides proof that a receiver has received specific documents, goods, services, a specific type of request, an order, etc. Letters of acknowledgment are often used for anything involved in a legal process and should be sent as soon as possible after the document is being received by you or your company. Their scope should be brief, without unnecessary exaggerations, just enough to give the most important information and complete a business communication cycle. Letters of acknowledgment serve both as an official form of receipt and a public relations tool, therefore, the language and the tone used to write them should be as polite as in any other formal letter. Additionally, they can sometimes refer to former meetings and conversations by agreeing on the terms that were offered or discussed by both parties. Rosalie Maggio in her book How to Say it states that:

“Sometimes a letter of acknowledgment also serves as a ‘thank you.’ Or it says you received the message or materials but will respond later, or that you passed them on to the appropriate person. Sometimes, too, ‘acknowledgment’ letters are really sales letters that use the excuse of acknowledging something (an order, a payment) to present an additional sales message.” (R. Maggio 2001)

There are as many types of acknowledgment letters as things and reasons for them to be acknowledged by somebody. In business, letters of acknowledgment play an important role in trust building and communication. Regardless the type, they always indicate your consideration about the concerned party and express that you value its time and opinion. According to Henney, the most common form of letter of acknowledgment in business is the one sent in answer to an order letter. He explains:

“If there is to be the least delay in filling the order the letter acknowledging it should say so and should give the reason for it, but even if the order is filled promptly (if it is a large or a comparatively large one) the letter of acknowledgment should be sent.” (N. Henney 2014)

As the letter of acknowledgment is usually a formal letter, it should have a proper structure and content. The typical letter of acknowledgment would consist of:

  • Name and address of sender,
  • Date and place,
  • Receiver address,
  • Information about case (e.g. case number),
  • Opening salutation,
  • Opening phrase, e.g.:
    • I hereby acknowledge the receipt of the following documents...
    • I am acknowledging receipt of...
    • We will make sure that the person responsible receives these materials...
  • Additional information, e.g.: If I may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me
  • Closing: Sincerely, Joe Lynch, Company X

It is necessary to specify what you are acknowledging. Too general or imprecise statement can be a source of problems in future legal process (e.g. someone thinks that you received document which was not attached).

Sample acknowledgment letter[edit]

Meredith Doe (Name of sender)
Head of Fundraising (Position of sender)
Black Cat Foundation (Company of sender)
120 Reservoir Rd, Atherton (Adress of sender)
CA 94027, USA (Adress of sender)

26.11.2018, Atherton (Date and place)

Mr John Smith (Name of recipient)
CEO (Position of recipient)
Philip Morris USA Inc (Company of recipient)
6601 W Broad St, Richmond (Address of recipient)
VA 23230, USA (Address of recipient)

Receiving of funds for the Project “Arizona” (Information about case)

Dear Mr Smith, (Opening salutation)

This is acknowledge that we received USD 10 000 from Philip Morris Inc in cash for the implementation of the Project “Arizona”. (Opening phrase)

A donation receipt and a letter of thanks will be send to your postal address soon. I would like to thank you once again on behalf of our Foundation for your support and continuous commitment for the noble cause of Black Cat Foundation. (Main phrase)

In case of any questions feel free to contact us any time. (Additional information)

Sincerely, (Closing)
Meredith Doe (Name of sender)
Head of Fundraising (Position)
Black Cat Foundation (Company)


Author: Dominika Nikołajew