How to Send a Heartfelt Sympathy eCard: Step-By-Step


When someone faces a loss, hearing from the ones they love is an essential source of strength. Sympathy messages might seem small and insignificant, but they make a huge difference. If you have a friend or family member going through a tough time, whether it’s a sudden illness or a death in the family, letting them know that you’re sorry for their loss goes a long way. 

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However, what happens when you’re not able to visit in person to deliver your card? In addition, what if you’re unable to access a physical card yourself in an appropriate amount of time? In instances like this, you can pay respects from far away with an ecard. 

Ecards are virtual cards that you send via email or digitally. There’s no need to leave your house or even print anything. These are a great solution if you’re unable to send a physical card. In this guide, we’ll share how to send a heartfelt sympathy ecard step-by-step.

When Should You Send an Ecard?

Ecards are becoming more and more common, but when should you choose one over a physical card? While it’s possible to pay respects from afar, it’s hard to fully substitute a physical card through the mail. 

However, life often gets in the way. There are times when it’s not possible or practical to send an ecard. The recipient will likely be understanding, and a digital card is always appreciated either way. You might need an ecard in these situations: 

  • You’re unable to go to the store (illness, family emergency, etc.)
  • The recipient faced a loss suddenly, and you need to send a card ASAP
  • You’re including a digital gift (e-gift card, donation, etc.) 
  • You’re attending a virtual funeral

If any of the above apply to you, sending a virtual ecard is likely the way to go. Luckily, in this day and age, there are so many customizable options to choose from that this service has never been easier. 

How to Send a Sympathy Ecard Via Email

One of the simplest ways to send a sympathy ecard is via email. There are a lot of online tools that do this work for you so you can focus on the recipient. Follow these steps to get started. 

Step 1: Consider the type of card

Before you begin, think about the type of card that’s appropriate for the situation. There are a number of different types of sympathy cards, so you’ll want to keep this in mind before you consider the right service for your needs.

Types of sympathy cards are:

  • Sorry for your loss
  • Sorry for your news
  • Thinking of you
  • Thoughts and prayers
  • Wishing you strength

These cards aren’t always appropriate, so give some thought to which type best fits your recipient’s situation. Don’t make any assumptions about how the recipient feels. Just stick to what you know and go from there. 

Step 2: Choose your service

Next, it’s time to choose your service. There are more digital card offerings than ever before, so you have the luxury of choice here. There are both free and paid ecard tools. Free tools will likely have an advertisement or link back to the provider while a paid card won’t have any of these distractions.

Some of the most popular services for email cards are:

  • American Greetings: American Greetings is a brand you might recognize from the card aisle at your local store, and their offerings also include ecards. You’ll need a trial or a paid membership to use this service. 
  • Hallmark: The famous card provider also has gorgeous ecards to choose from. Sending a card is as simple as writing a message and signing your name. 
  • Paperless Post: Paperless Post offers designer cards without the hassle of paper and postage. Easily customize your cards and add custom backgrounds (for an added fee). 
  • Postable: Postable is special because you can create a card online, and they’ll print and mail it for you. No envelopes, postage, or printing needed. Each card costs a couple of dollars, and it can be mailed on your schedule. 
  • Smile Box: Another online tool for making ecards in just a few clicks is Smile Box. With Smile Box, you can also add sound and music. 

There are a lot of different types of cards on all of the tools above. Some are more modern with animated graphics, while others are a bit more traditional. No matter what you choose, there’s something for everyone. 

Step 3: Customize your card

Once you’ve chosen the card that’s right for you, you’re not ready to send it yet. It’s tempting to just go with a basic message and click send, but taking some extra time goes a long way. 

Most online ecard tools let you fill out the recipient’s name, a personalized message, and the from field. Sometimes you can even add your own photos or music. Follow these tips to create a memorable card:

  • Consider the recipient: It’s common to address a sympathy card to the entire family, especially if more than one person is affected. You might address each family member individually or use the family name (for example, To the Smith family). 
  • Write your own message: While finding the right words to say is never easy, try to put some thought into writing your own message. A quick online search can prompt many ideas. 
  • Share photos: If you’re able to include photos, this is a powerful way to customize your ecard. This is especially true if you’re writing to share your condolences after a death in the family. A photo of the deceased, the family, or a happy memory makes a big impact. 
  • Include extras: Sometimes, you’re able to include extras like a digital gift card or donation. 

Step 4: Send your ecard

Last but not least, send your ecard. Make sure you’re using the most up-to-date email address for the recipient. If you’re not sure what email to use, ask one of their close friends or family. Avoid asking them yourself unless there’s no other option. 

From there, wait for them to open the card. Many of the online ecard makers send updates when your recipient opens the card. Otherwise, be patient. You can let them know you’ve sent a virtual card their way with a text or other message. For example, you might text them something along these lines: “I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve sent my condolences to your email address. Thinking of you.” 

Remember that the recipient is likely busy during this time. Don’t take it personally if it takes a while for them to respond. 

How to Send a Sympathy Ecard Via Text

Another option is to send a sympathy card via text. This might be faster than sending an ecard, especially if you’re not sure whether they check their email frequently.

Step 1: Follow step 1 above

 To begin, follow step 1 above. Then continue onto these steps below. 

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Step 2: Choose a service

Sending an ecard via text uses different tools than if you were to send it via email. While many of the services above also can be opened on mobile devices, these tools are built specifically for text cards:

  • justWink: This mobile app is by the same company as American Greetings, so you know you can find any type of virtual card imaginable. Create your card on your phone and send it via text.  
  • Punchbowl: Punchbowl does both ecards and text-based cards. You can easily text any of their ecards by entering the recipient’s mobile phone number. 
  • Paperless Post: Paperless post also allows users to send any of their customized cards via text. 

Step 3: Choose and customize a mobile-friendly card

When choosing and customizing your card, pay attention to how it appears on mobile devices. Because it will be opened on a smaller screen, choose a card that’s similarly sized. Luckily, most cards are already formatted to fit phone screens. 

The same goes for your message. Ensure your message isn’t too long that it’s not readable easily on a smaller screen. Less really is more when creating a sympathy card. To make sure it’s really heartfelt, just speak from a point of concern and caring. It doesn’t need to be excessively lengthy. 

Step 4: Send your card

Finally, send your card. It might be a good idea to send your card via email and text just so the user has more options when it comes to opening the card. 

When you send your card to your recipient via text, it usually just displays as a long link. Make sure they know what this link is by including a short message. Write something along these lines: “I’m so sorry to hear the news. I created this short card to remind you that you and your family are in my thoughts.” 

How to Send a Sympathy Ecard to a Group

Sending a sympathy ecard has never been easier. However, if you’re sending a sympathy ecard to a group vs. one person, it can be a bit more confusing. It makes sense to group the entire family into your communications, sending compassion their way. 

Though digital, sympathy ecards can be personal and meaningful. They’re also an efficient, eco-friendly way to send a message to multiple people at once. That’s why ecards are so popular when you’re addressing an entire group vs. a single individual. 

Step 1: Create your sympathy ecard

First, create your ecard. Remember, since you’re sending this to multiple people, you will want to address them as a group. You might address the card to “the Smith Family” or something along those lines. Depending on your relationship, you might address each member of the group individually. 

There might be limits to how many people you can send your virtual card to, but this depends on your platform of choice. If you’re sending the card through your own email, there is no limit. Always check with email client limitations before you get started to avoid any problems with deliverability. 

Step 2: List your recipient email addresses

The easiest way to send your ecard to a group is to go via email. While you can send it through text or social media messages, this can be trickier. Before you hit send, verify you have the right email addresses. If you’re not sure, ask. The last thing you want is the emails to bounce. 

Step 3: Send your sympathy ecard

Next, it’s time to send your sympathy ecard. Once you’ve verified all of the information is correct, send your card through your platform of choice. If you’re creating your own ecard using a tool like Canva, you can upload it directly to your favorite email platform. 

You can include your own message in addition to your card. When in doubt, make sure your words come from the heart. Once ready, hit send. 

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Step 4: Follow up

Lastly, follow up with your recipients at a later time to make sure they received your ecard. There are instances where these cards get caught in your recipient’s spam. While not common, it does happen. Follow up after your message goes through at an appropriate time to make sure your card arrived. 

How to Send a Sympathy Ecard for Free

With that in mind, how do you send a sympathy ecard for free? Thanks to today’s endless platforms online, it’s never been easier to send a sympathy ecard for free. Whether you want to make a card yourself or use existing templates, these options below are perfect for anyone. 

Step 1: Choose a card type

Before you begin, consider the card type that’s right for your message. There are a lot of options to consider. Sympathy is a wide genre, so you might want a condolence message, get well soon, or a more generic option. What type of message are you sending?

Step 2: Select a card making tool

Unless you plan to create your own card using a tool like Canva or Adobe Photoshop, you’ll want to determine the right card tool. Many of today’s well-known card suppliers also have free ecard options. These are designed to make your life easier, including custom templates and messages. 

A quick search reveals countless options. To make it easier, we identified some of the most popular below. You might recognize many of these from traditional greeting cards. 

Step 3: Design your ecard

Next, it’s time to design your ecard. On your chosen platform, navigate through the design steps to choose the card template that speaks to you and your message. From there, edit the design with your custom message. Make sure your personalized wording comes from the heart. 

Don’t forget to proofread your message, and make sure it looks good on different devices. You should be able to test your card before you send, and this is a great idea to make sure it’s ready to go. Once you send your card, you can’t cancel it. 

Step 4: Skip any added extras

Lastly, many of the online ecard platforms will have paid upgrades or trials. Though there will likely be a watermark on your card-of-choice, this means it’s also free. There is no need to pay to send an ecard to a loved one. Your loved one is sure to appreciate it either way. 

When you’re ready, send your card. You might wish to follow up with your recipient to make sure it made it to their inbox. There can sometimes be delays, so be patient. Your recipient is likely busy during this time, so it could take them several days to get to their email. In the meantime, you might send a physical card, write a special message, or share condolences on an online memorial. Again, your well-wishes should come from the heart. 

Example Sympathy Ecard Messages

Finally, here are some go-to sympathy ecard messages you can send to someone in a time of need. These messages are easy to personalize depending on your needs. As long as your message comes from the heart, then you’re ready to send a message that resonates. Having a template to draw from when writing your own sympathy card messages makes all the difference. 

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. If there’s anything you need, don’t hesitate to reach out. 
  • Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. Please let me know if I can help in any way. 
  • My heart goes out to you as you celebrate your loved one’s beautiful life. He/she is forever in our hearts. Wishing you all the compassion and strength. 
  • I’m so sorry for your loss. My entire family sends our thoughts and prayers. 
  • There are no words to sum up your loved one’s legacy. I’m grateful to have known him/her. Wishing you peace and comfort during this difficult time. 
  • I know there’s nothing that can take away this loss. I hope this message reminds you that I’m always thinking of you. No matter how it seems, you’re never alone. 
  • What an amazing, remarkable life your loved one had. The world is a better place because he/she was in it. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. 
  • Though I can’t take away your pain, I want you to know that I’m always here for you. I’m just a phone call or email away. 
  • Please know I’m thinking of you during this time. I wish I could be there in person, but know I am always with you in spirit. 
  • Though I didn’t know your loved one, I know how much they meant to you. I stand by yourself during this sorrow. 
  • We are so saddened to hear of your loss. I wish you endless strength and peace during your time of healing. 
  • When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a part of you. Their life was a blessing for us all, and we will never forget them. 
  • I mourn with you today and everyday. I’m praying for your strength. Together, we can get through this. 

Virtual Sympathy When Needed the Most

Sending a card, whether virtual or physical, is a great way to let someone know that you’re thinking of them. Cards might be a small gesture of kindness, but they go a long way when people are in need. 

While it’s hard to replace the comfort of a physical card, virtual cards are easy and affordable. They take a percentage of time as a traditional card, and that means they’re ideal for a number of life’s unpredictable situations. Have you sent a virtual sympathy card to someone in your life?

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