Your Chamber staff and volunteers have completed your Total Resource Campaign (TRC) or sponsorship campaign and are pleased with the results. Thank you letters have been sent. Your upcoming year is looking good.
After you’ve taken a moment to thank your staff for all of their hard work, you need to begin working on a new plan. This plan is far less rigid and organized than the plan you had for your TRC but in some ways, this plan is just as important.
You need a plan to follow up with your sponsor members throughout the year. You want to remind those businesses that they are valuable to you all the time, not just at TRC time. Those businesses and what they mean to the community are why you wanted them to sponsor through the TRC.
Following up with them throughout the year will reinforce that with them, so that next year when your volunteers ask them to sponsor again, they won’t feel like they are only important to you when you need a check.
How Do You Make that Happen?
In order to make your sponsors feel valued, you are going to want to use many of the same approaches you used to make your volunteers feel valued. After all, your sponsors are individuals within businesses, just like your volunteers. And making people feel valued is all about understanding people.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed.
I’m not suggested you send each sponsor a card on his or her birthday – though if you do, good for you! – or make contact with each one every month.
Make a General Plan.
Do you want to recognize individuals and businesses who receive mention in your local newspaper, magazine or on tv? If a sponsor business receives an award, do you want to send an acknowledgement of that? Mention it on your social media platforms?
Decide at the beginning what you want to do so that as the year progresses, you already have a plan in place. This will save you lots of headaches down the line and will make the entire process easier.
Pick your Parties.
Who will be watching for the information you will need? Will all of your staff be on the lookout for news about sponsor businesses? If so, who will be the staffer that they will report that information to when it is discovered? Or will that responsibility rotate from one individual to another each month? Who will be responsible for posting the information on your Chamber website or for posting it in your newsletter? Again, deciding this early will make things easier later.
Go old school.
Just like with your volunteers, sometimes it’s best to just pick up the telephone and call someone. There is something really wonderful about hearing a friendly voice on the other end of the line. And if that voice is calling to say “congratulations!” it is even better.
Make a Connection.
Just like with your volunteers, you have to connect with your sponsor businesses. Treat them well throughout the year so that they know they are important to you not just for the sponsorship dollars they bring to the table.
If you can do that and do it well, those members will not only continue to sponsor for years to come but they will increase their sponsorships and will encourage other businesses to sponsor as well.