Thank you. Magical words, aren’t they? No-one can hear them too many times.

Saying thank you is the most natural way for a charity to build a relationship with your supporters. Who hears the words ‘thank you’ without feeling positive, cosy, valued? When someone thanks you, really thanks you, it makes you want to do more good things in the future.

Done well, thank you letters build a bond that makes people want to give again and again. But for the copywriter, they can feel a bit… samey.

So how can you write heartfelt thank you letters that move people every time?

1. Don’t fake it. People aren’t good at spotting fake news, it turns out. But they’re primed for spotting fake emotion. No need to gush, or make ridiculous overstatements, or promise achievements that aren’t true.

2. Instead, mean it. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader,” said Robert Frost. You don’t have to sob into your keyboard every time. But you do need to make a wild leap of empathy and imagination and experience the gratitude yourself. Stop, think, feel before you write.

3. Give a voice to beneficiaries. Get your beneficiaries to say thank you for you and it’s win-win. Direct speech is empowering and it creates a genuine connection with your reader (see above). Job done.

4. Be specific. What are you actually grateful for? Work with your database and create variable paragraphs for each segment. Get personal by getting specific. Don’t just think money, either. What is it your supporter has actually done? Put the reader in the story. Show them what they’ve achieved.

5. Introduce surprise. The best thankyous are a little unexpected. A card in the post, biscuits on the doorstep. Think creatively about the form your thank yous could take.

6. Vary your phrasing. As a very last resort, find new phrases for your gratitude. “Thank you, I’d like to thank you, I’m writing to thank you, I’m so grateful for, I couldn’t have done this without you, can I just say how much this means…”

What’s worked for you when writing thank you letters?