Thanking your sponsors
In all the craziness of organising your event – particularly the aftermath and wrap up – it’s important to remember to thank your sponsors for their support in making our fundraising events a success. More than important – I would call it fundamental.
Using your imagination, there are MANY ways to thank your sponsors (and they’re all better than writing a formal ‘business style’ letter!). Here are our top 10:
1. Write a greeting card (not a business letter)
Whilst technically the transaction between you and your sponsor is a ‘business’ one, that’s where the ‘business’ part of it should end. The truth of the matter is that sponsors genuinely have a vested interested in helping your group or cause or else they just wouldn’t sponsor it. Think of it this way, if you developed a new friendship and your friend helped you out in a certain situation, would you write them a formal letter to thank them? Absolutely not! You need to think of your sponsors as your new friends and treat them as such. Write a thank you greeting card, but not the kind with long, flowing verses. Make sure your wording is personal, “you made our day” instead of “on behalf of” is much more appealing and you if appropriate you could include a story related to their donation. It will be appreciated more than you might realise.
2. Share recent progress, no matter how small
If the sponsorship donation that you have received is going towards a project, make an effort to keep your sponsor updated on your progress. Even if it’s just an email or phone call to let them know that because of their support you project has gotten underway or that their donation has allowed you to complete your project. Perhaps take a photo of the project and tag them on Facebook. They will love being updated about the difference their contribution has made.
3. Send an invitation to something (as long as you’re not asking for another donation!)
Invite them to take part in a school or club event: awards night, musical, trivia night, graduation dinner. Perhaps an event where they will be able to learn a little more about what you do and how their support helps. This can be an opportunity where you can make an effort to find out more about your sponsors business and how you can best promote them back to your community.
4. Include a photo
Send a photo of your group or students from your school holding thank you signs and/or a photo of the project that their donation has helped. It’s simple but meaningful.
5. Record a video message
Take the idea of sending a photo one step further and record a short video message to say thank you. A school assembly, game day or any other occasion when you can get the biggest crowd together can provide a good opportunity.
6. Send a treat
It’s an oldie but a goodie and shows that you’ve put some thought into your thank you: thank you cupcakes, bikkies – home baked, customised or some fancy store bought ones, chocolates – make sure they’re the good ones! 😉 or even a beautiful bunch of flowers.
7. A thank you party or dinner for your sponsors
Even if you only have one sponsor, think about throwing a thank you party or dinner. If a party or dinner is something that you would normally organise to thank your volunteers anyway, invite your sponsors along too. It’s a great way to get to know them a bit better and encourage future sponsorships.
8. Appreciation certificates
Another tried and true method of saying thank you. Businesses often pride themselves on displaying certificates of appreciation as a badge of honour. For that extra something special, invite them to your school assembly and have student representatives present them with their thank you. Public recognition is a great reward.
9. Send a Christmas card
As the year comes to a close, remember to thank your sponsors for their support throughout the year. Sending a Christmas card is simple but effective way of acknowledging your sponsors and reminding them that you are still thinking about them (at a time when you’re not asking them for anything!). Whether a little or a lot, all of their help has made a difference to your school or group.
10. Something fun
If you have a photo of your sponsor/s and you or someone in your group is digitally savvy, it could be fun to Photoshop them into a famous movie poster and rename it something fun. It could be something related to the event they have sponsored or even something relevant to your group. Laminate it and send it off with a personal thank you note. You can use our favourite free app canva.com to put something simple together.
At the end of the day, no matter how you choose to thank your sponsors, the most important thing is that you do, and that you nurture the relationships you have. When your event is over and done with, don’t leave it too long to say thanks and whatever your medium, make sure that there are no spelling errors, especially with names!
aka the Fundraising Whisperer