When people participate in a fundraising event, either as an attendee or as a sponsor, they don’t really expect a personal thank you for the part they played in your fundraising efforts. But the goodwill created by a thoughtful thank you can be substantial, and plays a significant role in the process of developing a continuing relationship with your supporters.
As you plan your Rally event, your goal is to cover your costs with sponsorships, donations and/or ticket prices and to avoid any unnecessary or extravagant costs. You want to be a good steward of the monies raised, and need that good stewardship to be obvious for all to see. So it can be challenging to devise a suitable way to say thank you which is both meaningful and cost effective.
Here are a few ideas:
Swag: Businesses may not always be able to support your event with cash. Many companies prefer to donate corporate premiums, product samples or gift cards which you can pass on to your event attendees as a little thank you for supporting your event. If you include a thank you note in the swag bag together with the donated items, your participants will make the connection between the goodies they take home and your message of appreciation.
Thank You Notes: If you have a small group of supporters to thank, then a handwritten note remains a low cost, personal way to let people know they are appreciated. With the abundance of online card printing options, (Snapfish, tinyprints, Shutterfly etc.) you can take an extra step and create a custom card incorporating a few shots from your event, and even add a printed generic thank you message that just needs a personalized sentence and signature to individualize.
Photography: Take “souvenir shots” of foursomes or sponsor groups at a picturesque spot at your event, or set up a fun backdrop of pink balloons or a giant pink ribbon to create a personalized remembrance of the day. Photos can then be sent with a brief thank you note. For special guests consider delivering the photo in a simple frame to acknowledge their participation.
Certificates: If you have local business and corporate donors, they may prefer a certificate of appreciation (easy to create on your home computer!) or plaque acknowledging their generosity. Many companies like to receive something they can display in their office to show their employees and customers their commitment to your cause.
Unique Gifts: While the goal of the Rally program is to raise awareness and funds, sometimes you may want to find a truly unique way to thank a special speaker or generous donor. One moving example is the KitchenAid “Pass the Plate” program which offers a beautiful platter decorated with their Cook for the Cure wording. The idea is to pass the plate between friends, registering each transfer with KitchenAid, who will donate a sum to Komen with each recorded transfer.
Email: If you have a large number of people to reach and individual correspondence is not practical, consider crafting a short recap of the event with a group photo and send it out via email. If someone at your event does a terrific job photographing your day, set up a photo sharing site like Flickr or Shutterfly and include access info with this thank you email, encouraging everyone to download their own memories of their fun day out and creative pink outfits.
Throughout the Year: Finding a reason to reach out to your supporters during the year helps build lasting relationships. Be sure to let everyone know the final amount raised by your Rally event, perhaps share some details of how funds are used by one of the grantees of your Komen Affiliate. Send a “save the date” as soon as your next Rally event is on the calendar. Sharing information with your supporters between events keeps your Rally activities on everyone’s mind while offering a perfect opportunity to thank them again for their continued contribution towards the fight against breast cancer.
Whether you are thanking a small, dedicated and generous group of sponsors or conveying thanks to everyone who participated in your event, always remember the importance of developing a relationship with your supporters to encourage their continued interest and participation in future events.