Putting the Meaning into Thank You

Imagine you are hosting a large fete. The day has been brilliant but as things begin to wind down you find yourself exhausted from all of the effort. However you are still expected to be a gracious host and provide a proper thank you to all your supporters and guests. Moving from guest to guest to shake hands and offer your gratitude can be tiring and time-consuming. Is there an easier solution to this problem?

Luckily there is. With a little bit of planning and preparation, thanking guests, volunteers and supporters can be a personal and yet simple process and a courteous end to any occasion. The key is carefully considering the type of event and the people who are attending to determine the best manner in which to thank them.

Thank You Cards

Much like after Christmas or Birthday Parties, you can provide volunteers with a ‘Thank You’ card as they leave. Cards can be a simple yet elegant touch to any event. With the opportunity to write them out beforehand, you can provide a personal touch through a brief note to each person.

Certificates of Appreciation

These can be organised (and even delivered) in advance. They are a wonderful way to say thank you to the businesses that supported your school or organisation and the sponsors involved will know their donation is very much appreciated. Donors are able to display certificates of appreciation in their shops or offices to let people know they support the community. This is a very positive by-product of their involvement. Such forms of appreciation can also help your P&C, as other business owners may see the certificates and offer to help next year. Gather some volunteers to personally deliver the certificates of appreciation as businesses love to know how successful the event has been.

Gift Baskets

Fundraising hosts have been known to create baskets comprising of all sorts of items. In certain cases, the items might be related to the theme of the event. Gifts such as quality chocolates or biscuits are universally well received for almost any occasion.

Gift Bags

You will have read of Hollywood planners producing celebrity ‘swag bags’ for parties and you can do the same. A variety of items can be included, from home-baked biscuits or cakes, bottles of wine (if appropriate), to silly or fun items. Gift certificates or gift cards can easily be used to recognise your wonderful volunteers.

Sponsors’ Tent

Inviting your sponsors to a meet and greet on the day of your fete will make them feel appreciated and it gives them a chance to see the end result of everyone’s hard work. You can have platters of finger food prepared and serve drinks to your special guests as you repay them with your speech thanking them for all their support. Who knows, they may even support you further by buying raffle tickets and goods from your fete stalls.

Volunteer Raffle

This is a simple yet effective touch to say thank you to your tired volunteers. Every volunteer who works on a stall has their name written down and put into a hat. Left over prizes, local business gift certificates, deli goods or alcohol will always be well received as a small but fun symbol of your appreciation.

In all of these cases, you are not only saying ‘thank you’ but you are also showing that you have put some thought and effort into your appreciation. People do notice these gestures which may seem small at the time but can carry much weight. It is always preferable to hear comments such as, “How thoughtful” from your helpers instead of you apologising later for not having had a chance to thank them properly. How you thank a guest or patron is a great signifier of how you treat people, and builds enthusiasm in your supporters to assist you again.


Originally published 1 February, 2012

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