We’ve all been there. The CEO, Emcee, or Board Chair comes up to the stage just as dinner is finishing up, and begins, “let’s take a moment to thank our sponsors”. It’s a nice thought, and showing gratitude to sponsors is very important. But does it have to be so boring? Does it have to be so routine and by the book that it makes your guests tune out from listening to your speaker and tune in to talking to their neighbor?
How can you both thank your sponsors meaningfully while keeping it interesting for everyone else, and better yet, how can you go the extra mile in thanking your donors beyond the perfunctory podium “thank yous”?
Here are a few ways you can thank your donors at your next live event that will wow them and keep everyone else impressed by how not boring your event is!
Who doesn’t love to be treated to the best! Show your sponsors some love before the event even begins by hosting a VIP reception before the event officially opens to everyone else. Open an hour early, or even 30 min and give access to specialty cocktails + mocktails, Hors d'Oeuvres, and let them check in without the wait!
Speaking of VIP treatment, rather than taking up program time to honor your sponsors, you can take care of this and show them some love all at the same time. As dinner is about to commence, you can have a “voice of god” (a speaker that announces without being on stage) welcome everyone and ask that everyone join in and thank your sponsors for making the event possible all while delivering champagne and treats to each of the sponsor tables. It creates a spectacle, makes people feel good, and doesn’t take up too much time as it happens as dinner service begins.
Make The Memories Last
For all of your sponsors who have tables, be sure to have your photographer take photos of the sponsor tables and their guests. You can then provide your sponsors with the photo when you follow up with them after the event. It's a wonderful gesture that they will appreciate. You can include a print out of it in your thank you letter to them, send it digitally, or even frame it for them and give it to them with an in-person visit.
Make a Movie
Not really. But many groups lately have been making “end credit” or “pre credit” video reels for their sponsors. These have ranged from super funny and fun, to inspirational. If you don’t have a videographer who can help you there are now several video creation tools available online. Here’s a fun example, and here’s another example that’s slightly different.
After The Event
Have a thank you gift, such as a plaque that you present to the organization and make time after the event to thank them in person to give them this gift. Have your CEO or Development Director or Board Chair deliver it and snap a photo and post it to your social media channels - giving you another opportunity to highlight your sponsor support after the event.
These are just a few ideas of different ways you can thank your sponsors. If you’re wanting more ideas of how to creatively thank your sponsors, reach out and let’s explore a complete sponsor gratitude plan that will wow and delight your sponsors.
Michael Faith Benefit Auctioneer and fundraising professional