Honor your sponsors. It’s a tough thing to do.
You need to make your sponsors feel appreciated, but your time is limited and your program is full.
How do you hit all of your goals, keep your audience entertained and still get people out the door by 1:00 pm?
Be creative and have fun.
Use the following tips to put some spice into your thank yous:
- Use the gift bag.
Many companies are very creative with the items in the gift bag. At
some events it seems there is a contest to see which company could come
up with the best item: nail polish, chocolate, tape measure,
pedometer, etc. On stage go through the bag and hold up all of the
fun items and thank the sponsors. I always am happy to do this and
often try to incorporate gift bag items into my program
- Give them an award.
Present the CEO or owner of each sponsor with an award and have every
attendee from that company stand when the award is presented. If you
have the award recipients lined up ready to go, this should be a very
quick process. It also encourages companies to fill their tables!
- Think outside the banner.
Sign-age is great, but don’t be tied to it. One window company built a
free-standing, self-lit, rotating red dress window to be displayed. It
was very unique and the company is invested in being able to use it
again (by sponsoring additional events!) Ask companies to creatively
promote their businesses.
- Ask them what they want.
If you ask if the CEO would like to say a few words, they will feel
obligated to do so. However many of the sponsors I’ve talked with
don’t really want to get up and speak, they’d rather get to the
program. Do they want a plaque to hang on the wall or would a nice gift basket be better? Would they like to have dinner with your
speaker the night before the event? Ask how they would feel valued.
- Pick one.
It’s tempting to thank them over and over, but being thanked well, once
from the stage is enough. Put on a great program. Give them something
to feel good about sponsoring and thank them just once.
Eliz Greene works busy people to improve heart health, so they can work well, feel better, and stress less.
She is a heart attack survivor and the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs and is a sought-after heart health, stress management, & wellness speaker.
If you are planning a women’s wellness program, workplace wellness program or programs for healthcare professionals check out EmbraceYourHeart.com to see if Eliz would be a good fit with your organization.
2 Responses to “Honor Your Sponsors — without boring your audience!”
This is good advice, I hope it’s heeded.
As someone who manages over 200 sponsorships each year, I’d like to offer a few additional thoughts:
*Gift bags can be great but they can also unravel a sponsorship. We prefer our funding go to benefit the organization. The gift bag item can cost more than the sponsorship and be a barrier to entry if “everyone” does it. I generally consider the give away a marketing expense and in order to participate, I seek funding from my colleagues in marketing, which isn’t always forthcoming. The example Eliz cites is a good one in favor of this technique: IF you can pull off a fun and useful bag of things. Do not give out pens.
I have also seen “gift bags” that were really coupons to desirable stores, and that proved to be appreciated and useful (this was at a fashion show where the stores that donated merchandise and styling provided the coupons). A win-win.
*Very good point about asking what’s important. This can be all over the map. For top sponsors, this is a good idea that can save organizations time and money while building relationships.
*A well-attended event that is well-run is the best thanks a sponsor can get. That and coherent advance materials. As the person who also fills the table, I love the events that people clamor to attend versus the ones that takes weeks and weeks to recruit for. “Please invite me again” is music to my ears. Most programs we attend could be cut in half in terms of time and leave more of an impact in terms of content. End five minutes early and you will have your community at your feet.
If you have a keynote speaker like Eliz, frame the talk with minimal additional content. Let her do the heavy lifting! That’s why she makes the big corn.
Thanks Eliz, xo
I really very liked this post. Can I copy it to my site?
Thanks in advance.