If you’ve put on an event, you know how important (and difficult) it can be to find sponsors. If you put on an annual or repeating event, then you likewise know how important (and difficult) it can be to find repeat sponsors. After all, people aren’t usually eager to part with their money, which is why it’s super important (especially if you’re a non-profit) to treat them well.
Sometimes keeping sponsors around is referred to donor retention, and it’s a hot topic of discussion in the nonprofit sector. There are books written on it and evenboot campsdevoted to the topic.
What’s The Big Deal?
Sponsor retention is the measure of how many continue to donate to your organization. And because money matters (so much so that they say it makes the world go ‘round), it’s kind of a big deal to keep your supporters around.
All too often, organizations seem happy to just accept a check from a sponsor and slap their logo on some corresponding signage. However, sponsors arereallyimportant to the financial health of non-profits. I might even go so far as to say that sponsors should be revered and treated with utmost respect and gratitude.
That being said, on this Valentine’s Day, here are a few ways to show some love to your sponsors:
Use Social Media
Give your sponsors shout-outs on social media about how awesome they are. Maybe highlight a Sponsor of the Month? (Who doesn’t love to receive a little Facebook love?) Similarly, be a good neighbor by sharing their content and events in order to help them get a wider reach. (Need help with your company’s social media?)
Leverage Your Network
There are few better compliments than referring someone to a business. Show some love to your sponsors by sending customers their way. When you’re in general networking situations or meetings, sing their praises. People will take notice.
Give Them A Voice
Offer to have your sponsors write a guest post for yourcorporate blog. Not only will this likely honor them that you asked, you’re benefiting their organization by sharing them with your network. It’s a win-win!
There’s something to be said for a personal and genuine “Thank you” after a gift. (This is likely one of those things your Mom taught you growing up.) Write a handwritten note or pick up the phone. (If you don’t think you have time for these, ask one of your Board members. It’s why you have them.) You could also get creative and send athank you video. (Check out these great examples fromThe Chronicle of Philanthropy.)
Host An Event
If you’re feeling especially grateful, you could invite them to lunch with your team or a special behind-the-scenes event. The exclusive experience are a fun way to encourage relationship and keep them involved.
Even if you don't take my advice, make sure you show some love to your sponsors this Valentine's Day - and throughout the year.