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Are You Providing Your Sponsors Feedback?

2011/02/25

Many of you are very good at getting vendors to sponsor your meetings and events, but how many of you are providing back to your sponsors feedback after the fact?

Recently it came to my attention from more than just a couple of software vendors, who support many of the user groups and events, that they aren’t getting feedback from leaders/organizers post the meetings/events.  With so many user groups out there and more and more events like SQL Saturdays and Code Camps happening, it really is important that you provide some details to your sponsors.  Without knowing how your meeting went, you could possibly be eliminating your group for future sponsorship from those vendors.  The market is very tight and with so many more user groups starting up and events popping up everywhere, it is getting tighter out there.  Most vendors have either a dollar budget or a certain number of user groups they can sponsor whether monthly, quarterly, or annually.  And many of them have created a system for themselves to know which user groups/events are doing what out there, and they can only know those details from hearing back from you.

I know, I know, we all think, “well they must certainly be reading all the great post-event blogs about it, like we are all doing, right?”  Wrong.  Our sponsors do not have time to read every event’s blogs. Think about how many user groups are out there, and how many events are happening everywhere.  The sponsors wouldn’t have time to organize funding you because all their time would be consumed with reading.  Not to mention, you asked them for their sponsorship, in many cases cashola, so you should be making it YOUR priority to get back to them all the details that you can, especially if you ever want to be considered for sponsorship again.

What kind of feedback should you provide?  Glad you asked!  First of all, numbers.  How many attendees were present at your meeting.  Even if you only average 20 attendees every month, that is fine, but they want to know this detail, no matter what the number is.  If you tell them nothing, nothing equals zero, so something is definitely better than nothing here folks.   Secondly, if you raffled off an item of swag they provided, tell them who won it and how about a pic of that person holding the prize. Vendors love to sponsor us, and can’t be at our meetings most of the time, so why not help them feel “included” so they can see the joy on that person’s face who won their prize.  Third, if you provided a demo of one of their products at your meeting, let the vendor know any comments or questions your group had.  Even if you received negative feedback about their product, they want to know this more than anything so they can take that information and make their products better.  In addition, they like to know what questions were asked, so that they can maybe include some marketing “blurb” on their websites and/or in their product literature so they can clarify the more commonly asked questions.  This type of feedback is invaluable to our sponsors, and is really the nuts and bolts to why they sponsor us.  Sure they love the community as much as we all do, but investing in our community needs to bring something back to them, and feedback is really what they are looking for.  A super simple request, and don’t they deserve it?  Heck yeah they do!

So do your part leaders, take the time to send them a thank you email, but include in your email some details on how it all went.

From → PASS

2 Comments
  1. As a speaker, a user group leader (in Nashville), and as the employee of a vendor, this is a great and very insightful post. I hope more user group leaders follow your recommendations, Karla.

    • Thanks Kevin. I too work for a software vendor, although for the healthcare field not the same crowd as our community here, but I know it is important to us that we hear back all feedback, good or bad, and rarely do we get any feedback from the events we sponsor throughout the country. Typically I am there doing demos, so not expecting them to give me feedback on whether attendees loved our products, but I would like to know some details like overall attendance so we can determine if we want to sponsor again the following year. Some do provide the attendees list, so we do get some numbers from some of them. I really would like to see those in the healthcare industry hosting events offering more options to us sponsors. National events of course offer a lot of options, but the smaller state events I think could learn a thing or two from some of the SQL Saturday organizers!

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