During my 20 years in the business as a professional benefit auctioneer I’ve had the opportunity to chat with business owners, specifically those who donated an item for a charity fundraiser. Most verified they did receive a thank you card for their participation. And they were grateful for the recognition they received.
But, there was one bit of information they feel is often left out in the thank you card – “How much did my item raise for the charity?”
It’s a good question. Nearly every business is proud of their support for a worthy cause – and are happy to give generously. However, not knowing how much they helped seems to drive them a little crazy.
My solution is simple: Tell them. An exact figure is great, but not always necessary. The business owner just really wants to know if their participation helped the overall fundraising effort.
Here are a few other ways you can thank businesses, which should always be done in person within days after the event.
1) Present them with a leftover program and highlight their name.
2) Take a photo of their donated item – as it appeared during the auction – and present it to them.
3) Certificates of Participation are a great way to thank a business – which most likely will frame it and place it on one of the walls visible to customers.
4) If it’s a major donor, a plaque makes a great substitute for a Certificate of Participation.
So, after the fundraising event, send a volunteer to the participating business, armed with a plaque or certificate of participation, photo of donated item and highlighted program and present it to the business owner. And don’t forget to explain to the business exactly what their donation meant to the fundraising effort and/or how much their item helped raise specifically. In other words put as much effort into thanking them as was done to secure the item.
A thank you – especially one that’s face-to-face – will go a long way in getting the same business to participate in future fundraising events.