There are many urgent items that need to be completed in order to wrap up an event and it is important that you do not forget to acknowledge those who helped make the event a reality.
Thank you letters should be sent to sponsors and exhibitors shortly after the event has finished. Even though their investment was a commercial transaction, it is not inappropriate or over the top to send thank you letters. A thank you letter is a professional way to maintain contact with key sponsors and exhibitors from your event and to acknowledge their contribution to the events success. Such a simple gesture can help maintain a positive relationship with these sponsors and exhibitors and may help encourage their likelihood to participate in a future event.
Thanking the Decision Makers
Onsite at the event, you may have had an opportunity to speak to all exhibitors depending on the magnitude of the event and, if you were lucky, you were also able to speak to non-exhibiting sponsors as well. However, were the onsite people the actual decision makers who decided that your event was the one they wanted to support? And if not, did the company representatives who were on site relay your appreciation of their contribution back to the decision makers? A thank you letter will make sure the decision makers are aware of your appreciation.
Important Facts to Include
In your thank you letter, make it very clear that it is a thank you letter and be sure to mention the event that it pertains to. Exhibitors and sponsors want to see their return on investment so you should also ensure you communicate the number of attendees at the event, the general feedback on the exhibit hall and sponsored events. This letter also provides an opportunity to provide the date for next year’s event and any other information that may already be available. Keep your letter no longer than one page on event specific/organizational letterhead and get straight to the point of the letter.
Attention to Detail
These letters should be signed personally and mailed out via regular post. Ensure names are correctly spelled and addresses are correct and that all spelling and grammar is correct in by having a colleague proofread it. This letter directly reflects the credibility of your event and your organization.
Appreciate the Sponsors Contribution
Remember that these sponsors and exhibitors chose your event over others and dedicated a portion of their marketing budget to your event. Consider this an honour and show your appreciation for their consideration. Ensure that they understand the value that their contribution provided to your event and how you maximized their investment.
Who Signs These Letters?
Ensure that these letters are personally signed by the most senior appropriate person from the event such as the executive director or conference chair. If there is a personal connection they should also provide a personal note of thanks to this person.
Appreciating the value of sponsorship in any form is important. It makes the sponsor realize that their contribution was valued and helped create a positive outcome for your event.
Implementing a formal thank you letter process for your event will help generate lasting relationships with key partners for future years.