Recognizing Exchange Sponsors at Your Silent Auction

Part 2 in our discussion about “exchange sponsors”

Acknowledging event sponsors should always be a part of your program, but what do you do when you are working with exchange sponsors who have partnered with your regular sponsors?

An exchange sponsor’s unique role as a silent auction contributor makes them more visible than the regular sponsor, but no more important to your nonprofit. It’s the regular sponsor’s cooperation in the trade of gifts that has allowed the exchange sponsor to step in and provide a new item for your silent auction. You want to make both the exchange and regular sponsor feel appreciated, but you don’t want your regular sponsor to feel their value is diminished by focusing too much on the exchange sponsor’s gift.

When it comes time to thank your sponsors, consider these tactics to ensure that every contributor receives the appreciation they deserve and everybody feels they’ve been given fair representation.

Before the Event

Invite your exchange sponsors on a private tour of your facility. This will not only act as a show of gratitude, it will also prove how important their participation is to your organization.

Make sure your sponsors’ logos are clearly visible on your website. Placing them on your website pages where guests are most likely to click is the best option. Think ticket and donation check out, the information page, and your speakers’ bios.

Create social media cover images for your event pages and incorporate your sponsor logos to it. Encourage your team to make the change on their own social media pages, as well.

  Want to learn more about exchange sponsors? Check out Greater Giving’s webinar “Power Up Your Auction Revenue Through Create and Strategic Refinement” with Talena Barker, CEO of Mission Limelight. She discusses what an exchange sponsor is and how they can add new items to your next silent auction.

During the Event

When thanking the sponsors or introducing their silent auction item don’t forget to recognize your regular sponsor and their role in partnering with your exchange sponsor. Mention their level of sponsorship and the number of years they’ve supported your work.

Introduce the exchange sponsor as a first-year sponsor and welcome them into your community. If they are in attendance, offer to let a representative of their company introduce the item they’ve contributed as a way to give them a greater level of exposure.

Send an email to your contributors as advertising on behalf of your exchange sponsors. Work with them to highlight a product or event related special to drive your guests to the sponsors’ businesses or websites. Send it during the auction when the sponsor is mentioned and mention the partnership with your regular sponsor.

If you include the exchange sponsors’ logos on tickets, bid sheets, and the program you should also include a “Courtesy of” mention that ties them to your regular sponsors’ logos. You could even add a “badge” with the number of years of involvement the regular sponsor has been involved in your organization.

Add a few sides with sponsor logos to your event’s large screen displays. Sweeten your top sponsorship package by offering to include a brief video to the video programming.

Treat your exchange sponsors like VIPs. Give them the best tables, personal handling, break-out cocktail events, and a special VIP lounge to let them know just how important they are to the success of your event.

Consider adding a designated photo area for your guests to commemorate the evening. Create a fun backdrop or signs that feature their logos, hashtags, etc. Go a step further by creating a raffle where entries are earned when a guest posts the picture.

After the Event

Thank the attending exchange sponsors’ representatives with a personal letter sent through snail mail. Acknowledge their company’s gift and the impact their contribution has made on your nonprofit’s community.

Use the photos that were captured of your exchange sponsors at the event. Send a professional photograph taken of the company’s representatives with the thank you letter. Present it in a frame that will make it easy for them to hang on their wall. Contact them later via email with an offer to send it to local business websites and publications to promote their business in a new location.

Reach out to your exchange sponsor’s industry trade publications to thank them publicly. This will also spread the word of your nonprofit and strengthen your reputation in that area of business.

Be sure to include them in blog posts and updates on your website.

After the event offer to provide your exchange sponsors analytical data that they may find valuable. Suggest the number of clicks from your website to theirs, total number and demographic data of attendees, etc.

Continue to network with your exchange sponsors online throughout the year. Follow them on social media and share their good news. This extra support will show them they continue to be important to your organization.

Exchange sponsors play an important role in a silent auction. They expand your network, add new “wow” items to the auction’s inventory, and keep consignment costs low. Giving them a reason to participate, while keeping your regular sponsors up front can be achieved at every phase of your event.

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